I recently read the age old classic book on productivity by Brian Tracy, Eat That Frog which has become a popular theory in business about getting your most important task done first. While the concept is not new to me, and probably not to you either, I felt inspired while reading it to be a better leader and practice what I preach.
Here are my key takeaways:
1. You cannot manage time, you can only manage yourself
To effectively manage your time, is to manage the sequence of events in your day. When you consistently choose the most important task and choose to do that first, rather than any other task, then you immediately increase the productivity and output of your day. If you choose to do this with every aspect of your life, you’re already on a path to success.
2. Decide what your most important task of the day is
Brian’s analogy, which I rather like, is that if someone gave you a free holiday to the Maldives but you had to leave tomorrow (and you can’t take your work with you), which task would you do that would allow you the satisfaction of being able to relax on your holiday? That’s the one you do before anything else.
Another aspect to consider when evaluating the importance of a task is to consider the consequences. Ask yourself if the task you are about to do has serious or potentially serious consequences; if the consequences are irrelevant, then don’t do it.
3. You can’t save time, you can only spend it wisely
Time continues, day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute, no matter what you do, time will move on. What you can do is spend your time wisely, on high value tasks. So how do you do that? By delegating, or automating, the tasks that are not in your genius. Stop focusing on or filling your time with lower value tasks and your days will be infinitely more productive.
4. Do a KWINK analysis
Ask yourself, Knowing What I Now Know, would I start this task again? If you’re under chronic stress, you’re over-thinking the task or worrying about the outcome, you’re likely in a bad situation. So, if you answer that question with “no, I wouldn’t get into this situation again today”, then you need to figure out how to get out of the situation as fast as possible.
We should never be afraid to say, “I was wrong; I made a mistake. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but with new information and experience, I realise I made a mistake.”
5. Focus on the law of three
Make a list of everything you do in a week or month and then go over the list and pick out one thing that contributes the greatest value to your business. The key here is contribution, to your life and your job. Do this twice more until you have three things that, if you focused all your attention on them, would generate the most wealth and rewards for you. And now delegate, automate, outsource or eliminate everything else.
So in the words of Brian Tracy, here’s the chief productivity rule: “do fewer things, but do more important things, and do more of them. Do them longer, and get better at them, until you get into the habit of only working at the things that make a big difference.”
Now that you know all of this, or you’ve been reminded on how to prioritise your time to maximise success, it’s time to take action. The biggest enemy of success is procrastination. If you’re ready to take action and find ways to automate the lower value tasks on your list, come and chat to us about automation processes and how these can free up your time so you can focus on the important tasks and eat those frogs!