I read this book a few years ago, on the recommendation of a friend. We’d been talking about juggling our assorted responsibilities and goals, and the topic of procrastination came up. Procrastinating has long been an issue for me, and I know I’m in good company. This article about procrastination was interesting. I spent a lot of time thinking about why I procrastinate on certain things which was obviously another way to put off action. Lately I’ve been frustrated with my inability to use my time well, and I’ve been putting things off which I need and want to do. So I thought revisiting this book was a good idea, and I hope if it was new for you that you found it helpful.
The basic premise of the book is catchy and easy to remember. Author Brian Tracy based the book on a Mark Twain quote, “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.” Tracy points out that this rule can also apply to tasks. The idea is to complete your least-favorite task first, and get it out of the way.
If you didn’t get to read the book but are still interested in learning more, here are some links:
- This post came from Brian Tracy’s own site. If you don’t want to read the whole book, it’s a good quick synopsis. He also has a YouTube channel with a lot of videos. Many are business-oriented but there some related to personal development. Reading is my preferred mode of getting information but I’m going to watch some of these videos when I have a chance.
- This is an ok review, but it does feature a list of the 21 ideas Tracy writes about in the book. Again, if you don’t want to read the book but are curious about its elements, this might be a helpful way to get another preview.
What I Liked:
- The book was very readable. I liked the tone because it sounded like getting advice from a friend.
- The book’s big idea is easy to remember. Even though there is a lot more to the book, I think if nothing else you’re likely to remember that you should identify the one or two tasks that you really dread, and try to get them done first. For me, exercise is the task I dread most. For several months last year, I got dressed in sweats as soon as I got up, then went walking as soon as I put Emma on the bus. Winter weather derailed me, and I’ve realized I need to drag myself out of bed a little earlier and walk before I go to work. I’m not a morning person so of course I’ve been putting it off. But it’s something I need to do. The other benefit for going in the morning is that it’s not as hot then.
- It reinforced ideas I already had. There was very little about this book that I found truly enlightening or original. But I didn’t find that problematic. I actually liked seeing an expert write about ideas I had but felt unsure about. For example, Chapter 10, is titled “Take It One Oil Barrel at a Time” focuses on the benefits of taking one single action when faced with a large task. Again, not epiphany-worthy. But if you’re like me, constantly re-evaluating yourself and wondering if you’re approaching something the right way, it can help to see validation from an expert.
- The summary at the end is handy. I purchased this as a Kindle book, and even though I love my Kindle, this is the kind of book that’s better in paper form because it’s easier to refer back. Flipping back in an e-book is a pain; if I owned the hard copy it would be full of post-its.
What I Disliked:
- I had only one real issue with this book, which is very subjective. I think 21 ideas is a lot. For someone who’s already mismanaging time, and is probably overwhelmed, it’s not unlikely that a reader wouldn’t bother with this book. I think many of these ideas could have been grouped into subtopics, which would allow a reader to focus on the aspects of procrastination that needed the most help.
On that note, now that I’m familiar with the book again, I’m going to work on the first two principles: 1) Set the Table, which involves writing down goals and objectives and 2) Plan Every Day in Advance, which is self-explanatory. While it’s important to write things down, Tracy also points out that prioritizing things is important too. I definitely gravitate towards doing the tasks I enjoy over the ones that I don’t which is not getting me where I want to go.
Did you read the book? What did you think?