July 10, 2008

Eat your frog

Eat your frog - by Marcia Francois
(first published in Feb 2007)

Eat your frog?

By now you're wondering if I've gone stark raving mad! No, I'm not mad.

I first learned of this principle from Brian Tracy.

Your frog is the most important task of the day. It is the one thing which, if done quickly and effectively, will ensure your greatest success.

You see, when most people get to work, they already have some idea of what they have to do for the day.

Let me give you a specific example.

Okay, imagine that these are the 5 tasks that await you on a particular day:
1. Read and respond to emails.
2. Phone somebody to resolve a query.
3. Set up a meeting.
4. Compile monthly report.
5. Draft a process email and send out.

Most people would probably do the tasks in this order - 1, 3, 2, 5 and 4.

Why?

Because that's the easiest way to get through the list. After all, by 10:00 nearly all the items can already be ticked off the list.

But then a "typical day" happens - client phone calls, queries left, right and centre, you're called into a couple of meetings and before you know it, 4:30 has rolled around and you still haven't done that monthly report.

Sound familiar?

That's because you haven't eaten your frog. Your most important task is still undone.

So let's change it all around.

What if you walked into the office and did nothing else until your report was done? You've eaten your frog. And it's only 9:00.

You then catch up on emails, and draft the process email to send out. The "typical day" still happens but because the most important tasks are done, you can squeeze setting up the meeting and phoning the other person into the tiny five-minute slots you do find during the course of the day.

You see, it's what I've been teaching my time management clients for years when I tell them to ask themselves, "what's the most important use of my time right now?"

If you get used to eating the frog first, the rest of your day can AND WILL only get better. Your most horrible task is over and done with and you can almost...but not quite...relax!

And if you have TWO frogs, then you eat the ugliest one first!

My challenge to you is this - just try it for a week and see how your productivity soars. You know I'm the go-to gal if you want to increase your productivity so I made a worksheet to help you get into the habit.

Download it at the bottom of this page - http://tinyurl.com/54smuj.

I can't wait to hear how it works out for you.

By the way, I thought I ought to practise what I preach. So this month, I did exactly that. I wrote my newsletter article a week earlier than I usually do so that it's done and out of the way.

And you know what? I feel great!

Marcia Francois is a time management and organising coach who empowers small business owners and other busy people to organise their time, space, business and life. Visit http://takechargesolutions.org for your free Clear the Paper Clutter e-book and the rest of your Organising Success Pack.
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