We will probably always have a ‘To Do’ list, and maybe more than one. The question we face is how to effectively and efficiently manage that list. In Eat That Frog: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time, (2007, Berrett-Koehler, San Francisco, CA), Brian Tracy provides a set of 21 approaches to expend your time more effectively as well as more efficiently.
Tracy presents two concepts that may be considered foundational to his other suggestions.
The first concept is to develop a habit to use each of the principles he suggests. In this way you will apply the principles automatically on a daily basis. He suggests three steps to form a habit:
- Make a conscious decision to develop the particular habit.
- Be disciplined and actively practice the principle or approach you want to become a habit.
- Persist with this practice until it becomes automatic and is a habit.
The second concept is to set priorities. Make setting priorities a habit. Regularly ask yourself:
- What are my highest value activities?
- What are the things that only I can do and that will make a difference?
- What’s the most valuable use of my time right now?
Tracy offers a number of other more specific actions to develop into habits. From the organizational perspective, they include:
- Think in terms of long term – consequences and results – in making short term decisions about what to do.
- Make a plan based on a clear goal.
- Have a plan for each day.
- Prepare in advance so that you have what you will need when you start working.
- Break big projects into manageable pieces and have a plan to do one step at a time; set aside chunks of time for projects.
From a perspective more oriented to professional and personal development, they include:
- Identify and develop your skills.
- Know when during the day you do your best work – early morning, morning, afternoon, evening, night.
- Have a positive attitude; look for the good in every situation.
Many of these actions might sound like common sense. Tracy’s most significant contribution may be the idea to turn these actions into habits. Make them your automatic response.