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Eat That Frog!

Thursday 18th October, 2012

Exclamation marks are a big no-no in writing: they make a sentence look desperate for approval.

In the workshops I run with journalist Dea Birkett, we counsel writers never to use this punctuation mark unless it’s something you intend the reader to shout. (‘Hands up!’ for example, or ‘Checkmate!’)

Eat that Frog!So I probably wouldn’t naturally have chosen to read Eat That Frog! (subtitle Get More of the Important Things Done – Today!) except that it was recommended by my business coach, Claire Fuller. It’s by Brian Tracy (no exclamation mark but maybe he secretly wanted one) and the book offers practical steps you can take to get better, faster results in your work.

It turns out that Eat That Frog! is based around one really fundamental and excellent idea, and it’s this. If you know that every day you’re going to have to eat a live frog, then the best thing you can do it get it over with early in the morning.

Translated into practical wisdom, this means identifying the most significant things you need to do each day to make progress towards your goals, and then doing them instead of anything else.

One of the freeing ideas in the book is that there will never be enough time to do everything that might be worth doing. This chimes with a brilliant book by Pete Scazzero I recently read which humbly suggests that we all ought to take more time off – even though we will achieve less.

Tracy’s approach, of prioritising only the top-ranking ugliest frogs, forces you to narrow down what you do each day – but it guarantees you’ll spend time on the important things that lead somewhere and give you a sense of achievement.

When I read the book I commented to Claire:

The ‘Eat that Frog’ book has definitely made me feel more satisfied if I complete the most vital things, instead of guilty that I didn’t do everything on my list.

So, hooray! for Brian Tracy and Eat That Frog! Hooray!

 

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