Video Book Summary
Download all of the Mind Maps here.
Book Summary Notes
Eat That Frog
“Throughout my career, I have found a simple truth. The ability to concentrate single-mindedly on your most important task, to do it well and to finish it completely, is the key to great success, achievement, respect, status, and happiness in life. This key insight is the heart and soul of this book."
"The key to success is action. These principles work to bring about fast, predictable improvements in performance and results. The faster you learn and apply them, the faster you will move ahead in your career—guaranteed."
"There will be no limit to what you can accomplish when you learn how to ‘Eat That Frog!’”
One key to rule them all..
When it comes to personal development most people will tell you that ACTION is the one key to rule them all!
Taking action on the things you read..
Taking action on the things you say you will do..
Taking action on the things others ask of you..
Without ACTION all of the other 'gems' that come from personal development have no teeth..
But it's easy to forget action.. It's easy to procrastinate.. Maybe easier than ever!
But the good news is the ACTION happens to be effected by momentum..
That's what we'll learn inside this book! How to start gaining momentum and take massive action..
There are 21 tips inside the book and I've only distilled a few of my favorites! I recommend you pick this book up it's well worth the read.
“It has been said for many years that if the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, you can go through the day with the satisfaction of knowing that that is probably the worst thing that is going to happen to you all day long."
"Your ‘frog’ is your biggest, most important task, the one you are most likely to procrastinate on if you don’t do something about it now. It is also the one task that can have the greatest positive impact on your life and results at the moment.”
“The key to reaching high levels of performance and productivity is for you to develop the lifelong habit of tackling your major task first thing each morning. You must develop the routine of ‘eating your frog’ before you do anything else and without taking too much time to think about it.”
A live frog is unlikely to taste good.. Plus it probably won't go down easy!
Do you have tasks like that?
- Ones that you might rather put off until an imaginary tomorrow..
- Maybe ones that you're not sure you can even do..
- Perhaps ones that have been on your plate for weeks, months or even years..
Don't worry you're not alone..
- Most of my coaching clients reach out because they've got a big ugly frog to eat!
- But they would just like a little help getting the courage..
What is Brians advice on eating a frog?
- First he says we must resolve to eat the frog first thing in the morning when our willpower is the highest..
- Second he says that given we have more than one frog that we should pick the ugliest or the most likely to make the others easier..
“Clarity is the most important concept in personal productivity. The number one reason why some people get more work done faster is because they are absolutely clear about their goals and objectives and they don’t deviate from them."
"The more clear you are about what you want and what you have to do to achieve it, the easier it is for you to overcome procrastination, eat your frog, and get on with the completion of the task."
"A major reason for procrastination and lack of motivation is vagueness, confusion, and fuzzy- mindedness about what you are supposed to do and in what order and for what reason. You must avoid this common condition with all your strength by striving for ever greater clarity in everything you do.”
Frog probably never tastes great.. But it probably tastes better if you have the right recipe!
This is the perfect analogy for goals..
- The things you want to do might never be easy and will almost certainly take hard work and dedication..
- But with a good plan or 'recipe' they are certain to go a little easier!
Now how do we set clear goals? I like to use a system called Objectives and Key Results and here is how it works
First you must list your main objective I find having 3-5 per quarter is the limit
- Objectives should be measurable
- They should be time based
- They should be reasonable to complete
Second below that main objective you should like 3-5 key results that if completed would lead to that objective
- Key results shouldn't be too granular because they need to be wide ranging enough to lead to the objective
- They should be measurable
- These are essentially your recipe
*More about Objective and Key Results from the book Measure What Matters by John Doerr
“Take a clean sheet of paper right now and make a list of ten goals you want to accomplish in the next year. Write your goals as though a year has passed and they are now a reality. Use the present tense, positive, and first person so that they are immediately accepted by your subconscious mind."
"For example, you would write: ‘I earn X number of dollars per year’ or ‘I weigh X number of pounds’ or ‘I drive such and such a car.’"
"Then, go back over your list of ten goals and select the one that, if you achieved it, would have the greatest positive impact on your life. Whatever that goal is, write it on a separate sheet of paper, set a deadline, make a plan, take action on your plan, and then do something every single day that moves you toward that goal. This exercise alone could change your life!”
What a great exercise.. Break your year down into about 10 goals!
This is something I wish I had done since the very beginning of my life..
- Having a clear direction of where I want to go would have allowed me to take better advantage of opportunities..
- But it would also have allowed me to say 'no' a lot more often!
However I'm going to differ in the advice that Brian tells here just slightly..
- I find it more motivating and elucidating to write down these 10 goals as a paragraph..
- Writing an 'essay' to myself of where I am a year from now is such a great tool when used in conjunction with the quarterly Objective and Key Results method we talked about..
Plus a little bonus..
- I also like to write down a paragraph of where I could be if I really let myself go!
- Something I stole from Dr. Jordan Peterson I think humans have the capacity to be motivated from two directions..
One of what we might have given we tried our hardest..
One of what we might get given we let ourselves slide into chaos..
Crossing the Desert
“Many years ago I crossed the heart of the Sahara Desert, the Tanezrouft, deep in modern-day Algeria."
"The desert was 500 miles across in a single stretch, without water, food, a blade of grass, or even a fly. It was totally flat, like a broad, yellow, sand parking lot that stretched to the horizon in all directions."
"To counter the lack of features in the terrain, the French had marked the tracks with black, fifty- five gallon oil drums, five kilometers apart, exactly the distance to the horizon, where the earth curved away as you crossed that flat wasteland."
"Because of this, wherever we were in the daytime, we could see two oil barrels, the one we had just passed and the one five kilometers ahead. And that was enough."
"All we had to do was steer toward the next oil barrel. As a result, we were able to cross the biggest desert in the world by simply taking it ‘one oil barrel at a time.’”
Any large goal can be overwhelming..
Setting goals is a great thing.. Having a plan is a great thing!
- But often we can find ourselves overwhelmed by the shear amount of 'stuff to do' when pursuing that goal..
- Often looking ahead towards the end can be quite discouraging!
So how do we solve this?
- Simple.. We set out oil barrels and follow them!
- This takes away the pressure of the larger goal.. And instead allows us to put our full focus and attention on the next 5km..
This isn't the key results we talked about before.. Those might be 50km goals or even longer!
Instead these are the 'actions' we'll be taking along the way..
Here is how I use them..
- First I take the key result I want to work on and break it down into some key actions..
- Next I will take those actions and organize them the best way I can..
- After that I shut out all other distractions and possible paths and follow my next action..
- After that action is finished we can re-calibrate and find the next barrel!
“Every great achievement of humankind has been preceded by a long period of hard, concentrated work until the job was done."
"Single handling requires that once you begin a task, you keep working at it, without diversion or distraction, until the job is 100 percent complete. You keep urging yourself onward by repeating the words, ‘Back to work!’ over and over whenever you are tempted to stop or do something else."
"By concentrating single-mindedly on your most important task, you can reduce the time required to complete it by 50 percent or more."
"The truth is that once you have decided on your number one task, anything else that you do other than that is a relative waste of time.”
The process of focusing on the task at hand is both liberating and extremely difficult..
Most of the time the human mind is quite distracted!
- Focusing on either the next task or thinking of new ideas for something completely different..
- This is an amazing feature of the human mind.. So much creative potential!
But it's not exactly how things really get done..
- Great works take not only great work but also a lot of discipline of concentration..
- Having that discipline frees you up to do your best work and liberates the great creations your mind thinks of almost every moment of the day!
How can you cultivate that discipline?
- Well Brian gives us a Mantra of 'get back to work' and I think that's a great one..
- I also like 'what am I avoiding right now?' and 'why am I avoiding this' as it helps us get some insight into the causes and reasons for our procrastination..
- One more thing I find useful is having a time in front of me while I'm working.. When that timer is running nothing but the work matters! All I need is the discipline to turn it on and instantly the work starts flowing just a little easier..
“The raw material of personal performance and productivity is contained in your physical, mental, and emotional energies."
"One of the most important requirements for being happy and productive is for you to guard and nurture your energy levels at all times. Your body is like a machine that uses food, water, and rest to generate energy that you then use to accomplish important tasks in your life and work."
"When you are fully rested, you can get two times, three times, and even five times as much done as when you are tired.”
The one thing we can't forget about productivity..
At the end of the day it all comes down to managing our energy!
So far we've talked about a lot of great things for the mind..
- How to set worthwhile goals
- How to stop procrastination
- How to manage those goals with key results
- How to manage next actions
But we can't forget the body.. The source of our energy to do any and all of these wonderful things we plan to do!
- What does your body need?
- Well it needs quality food, water, exercise and rest!
- How are you managing those things?