This is a summary of the ideas in Chapter 4 of Brian Tracy’s personal productivity book ‘Eat that Frog’.
- Master list: write down everything that you will have to do at some point in the future.
- Monthly list: write down everything you have to do for the next month and the end of the previous month, which may include tasks transferred from your master list.
- Weekly list: draw up a list at the end of one week for the week ahead.
- Daily list: items that you intend to accomplish each day.
- Checking off items on your list gives you a visual picture of what you are achieving which helps motivate you.
- You develop a positive sense of forward momentum which can be used to overcome procrastination by checking off tasks on lists to complete projects.
- The small amount of time you spend planning your tasks can save you a large amount of time in executing them.
- Think on paper, because time spent in preparation reduces time wasted in execution.
- Make a list of every task that you have to do to finish a project.
- Organize that list in terms of priority to create a sequence.
Apply the Pareto principle
- Focus on the minority of what you do to achieve the majority of your results.
- 20% of what you do accounts for 80% of what you achieve.
- Most people concentrate on the 80% of what they do which only accounts for 20% of what they achieve.
- The most difficult tasks often have the most rewarding consequences.
- You should ignore the less relevant 80% and concentrate on the most relevant 20% until it is finished.
- The problem is that most of us are in the habit of concentrating on unimportant tasks while there are still important tasks left to be done.
- Just thinking about starting and finishing important tasks can motivate you to stop procrastinating.
- Often the time required to complete an important job and an unimportant one are exactly the same.
- The satisfaction of completing an important task is greater than the satisfaction for completing an unimportant one.
- Distinguishing between important and unimportant tasks is an essential time management skill.
Think about consequences
- The consequences of something determine how important it is.
- You need to be able to accurately predict what the consequences of doing or not doing something are.
- The depth of your time horizon greatly affects your choices.
- Success comes from thinking about the future and tailoring your choices to bring about your desires.
- Important tasks are ones with major long-term potential consequences.
- Unimportant tasks are ones without or with minor long-term potential consequences.
- You will be clearer about what you need to do today the clearer you are about what you need to do tomorrow.
- Compare the consequences of doing and not doing something when deciding whether or not to do it.
- Successful people make short-term sacrifices and delay gratification to achieve their long-term goals.
- Unsuccessful people focus on short-term gratification without thinking about long-term goals.
- Start on top priority tasks with major consequences immediately.
- You will be motivated to accomplish tasks once you are clear about the long-term impact they will have on your life.
- Maintain your momentum by continually starting and finishing the tasks that have a the biggest impact on your life.
- The best way to determine your true priorities in your work and personal life is by thinking continually about the potential consequences of your decisions.
- Test the theory: pick the project that if executed well and quickly could have the biggest positive impact on your life.
- Your most important tasks are the ones with the most serious consequences.