One day when I was watching Ankur Warikoo sir's video about his recommended books, I came across many books. One of them was Eat That Frog and he told that this is a very good book about time management. As time management is what I needed so I placed an order and when it arrived, started reading it.
This is a book about how to manage time to do more work in less time. The time is limited for everyone and nothing can be done to add one or two extra hours in a day. So, managing what we do in our work period is essential if we want to achieve what we are working for. This book has 21 chapters each of which deals with a method to improve productivity.
Each chapter is a detailed explanation of a tip to work efficiently. The language is so simple that one without much knowledge of English or a non-English speaker or a young kid can easily understand. You do not need to be an expert in English to read this book.
This book is more of application than of reading. Just having a fast reading of this book won't help. The actual result of it lies in its practical application. After having a full read of this book, you will be able to stop procrastinating on your work. Whatever you do, it will be done smoothly.
Here is the summary of this book, remember the words below are not mine, I just compiled the summaries of all the chapters.
The 21 ways to improve productivity which are deeply explained in this book are summarised here.
1. Set the Table
"There is one quality which one must possess to win, and that is the definiteness of purpose, the knowledge of what one wants and a burning desire to achieve it." - Napoleon Hill
Have clarity of what you want to achieve and write it down on paper. Write everything that you want to achieve. Writing your goals on paper is a great way to make your purpose definite. A clear written set of goals is something that you can touch and see. On the other hand, an unwritten goal is merely a fantasy.
After having written your goals, set a deadline for achieving each one, make a list of everything that you can do to achieve your goal, prioritize them and then resolve to do something every single day.
2. Plan Every Day in Advance
"Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now." - Alan Lakein
Planning is a very essential thing to perform well in your work. When you have a proper plan of what you are going to do in the next 24 hours, you are less likely to procrastinate on your work. So, always work in a planned way. The 10 to 12 minutes spent on planning may save you up to two hours of important time.
The night before you sleep, make a plan of what you are going to do the next day. When you make your list the night before, your subconscious mind will work on your list all night long while you sleep.
Make such lists day, every week, every month, and every year.
3. Apply the 80/20 Rule to Everything
"We always have time enough, if we will but use it aright." - Johann Wolfgang
The whole society of ours is divided into two sections of which the 20 percent are vital few and the 80 percent are trivial many. Similarly, of those works that we do, 20 percent are of great importance while 80 percent are of very low importance. Nearly every area of life follows the 80/20 rule.
This means 80% of our time goes into doing those things which are not important while only 20% is invested in those things which are result bringing for us. Instead of focussing on those 80% trivial many, we should focus on the 20% vital few.
4. Consider the Consequences
"Every great man has become great, every successful man has succeeded, in proportion as he has confined his powers to one particular channel." - Orison Swett Marden
Before doing anything, we should focus on its long-term consequences. Successful people always work towards their long-term goals while unsuccessful people sacrifice their long-term goals at the mercy of the short-term ones.
Every task has some consequences of it in the future but those which make the real difference should be focused on more.
5. Practice Creative Procrastination
"You can get your time and your life under your control only to the extent to which you discontinue your lower value activities"
We cannot avoid procrastination fully in our lives. We have to procrastinate at some point in our work life. The best thing will be to find tasks that are of low value and that do not make a big difference in our life and then procrastinate on them.
Those activities that consume a lot of time without bringing any major difference in our life can be procrastinated upon. We should avoid low-value activities so that we have more time for high-value activities that can be done more efficiently.
6. Use the ABCDE Method Continually
"The first law of success is concentration to bend all the energies to one point, and to go directly to that point, looking neither to the right nor to the left." - William Mathews
The more time we invest in planning our day in setting priorities for our activities, the more activities are done in less time and the faster the results come. We should use the ABCDE method of setting priorities in our life.A- Something that is very important and we instead of handling others must do it.
B- It is something that is important and we should do it but not before task A.
C- It is defined as a task that is nice to do but does not have any major consequences.
D- A D task is something that we can handle for others if we do not have enough time.
E- This type of task should be totally eliminated and doing it is just a waste of time.
7. Focus on Key Result Areas
"When every physical and mental resource is focused, one's power to solve a problem multiplies tremendously" - Norman Vincent Peale
One of the best ways to become excellent in avoiding procrastination is to find out what major roles we are going to play and to focus on them. Why most people fail in their careers is because they work on those areas that are of no major importance. Every profession has some key result areas which if given proper focus may bring a major achievement.
8. Apply the Law of Three
"Do what you can, with what you have, where you are." - Theodore Roosevelt
The most efficient method for finding important tasks is to ask ourselves a question, What are the three most important goals in my life right now? Writing down the answer to these questions in 30 seconds will give the most appropriate answer.
After finding the answers, giving each of them scores out of 10 helps us know where we are doing good and where not.
9. Prepare Thoroughly Before You Begin
"No matter what the level of your ability, you have more potential than you can ever develop in a lifetime" - James T. McCay
Before doing any task we should get all the required things in front of us and the unnecessary things placed aside out of our sight. The workspace should be neat, and clean and should be according to our choice so that we can spend more time here and ultimately work more.
After having everything prepared, we should immediately launch toward our work without waiting for a second. Whether we do things right or wrong, we must do them and then correct them.
10. Take It One Oil Barrel at a Time
"Persons with comparatively moderate powers will accomplish much if they apply themselves wholly and indefatigably to one thing at a time." Samuel Smiles
We can accomplish the biggest tasks in our lives by disciplining ourselves to take it just one step at a time. Taking the first step in full faith allows us to see the next step. Doing it continuously makes us complete the task.
11. Upgrade Your Key Skills
"The only certain means of success is to render more and better service than is expected of you, no matter what your task may be." - OG Mandino
A major reason for procrastination is a feeling of inadequacy, a lack of confidence, or an inability in a key area of a task. Upgrading your key skills is one of the most powerful personal productivity principles of all. Start learning about what you can do to improve your performance in some key areas.
Read every day in your field, take courses and seminars to upskill yourself, and listen to audio programs related to your field in your spare time.
12. Identify Your Key Constraints
"Concentrate all your thoughts on the task at hand. The sun's rays do not burn until brought to a focus." - Alexander Graham Bell
Whenever you are not getting results, ask yourself, what is holding me back? What sets the speed at which I achieve my goals? Answering these questions will take you to some limiting factors in your growth. Here you will notice that 80% of all the limiting factors lie in yourself while only 20% lie outside you.
So, take control of yourself and you will continuously improve over.
13. Put the Pressure on Yourself
"The first requisite for success is the ability to apply your physical and mental energies to one problem incessantly without growing weary." - Thomas Edison
The world is full of such people who are waiting for someone to guide them. They can't find paths on their own. There are only 2% of people in this world who control their whole minds and find a way to move. These are known as leaders. Try to be a leader.
See yourself as a role model in a particular industry and try to do your best to lead it. Create imaginary deadlines for your tasks to be completed.
14. Motivate Yourself into Action
"It is in the compelling zest of high adventure and of victory, and of creative action, that man finds his supreme joys." - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
To perform at your best, you must motivate yourself. Talk to yourself in a positive way all the time. It's not about what happens to you on a minute-to-minute basis, it's about how you interpret things happening with you. Always be optimistic because optimism is the only thing that can get you out of the worst-case scenario.
15. Technology Is a Terrible Master
"There is more to life than just increasing its speed." - Mohandas Gandhi
When technology isn't used mindfully, it can make us slaves. People are addicted to technology. Early in the morning, they rush towards their smartphones or laptops to check their social media notifications.
These disturb our communications with the real world, therefore, decreasing our work performance.
16. Technology Is a Wonderful Servant
"Technology is just a tool" - Melinda Gates
The purpose of technology is to make your life smoother and easier, not to create complexity, confusion, and stress. Use your technological tools to regularly remind yourself of what is most important and protect yourself from what is least important.
Segment your communication channels so that only your most important works come into mind.
17. Focus Your Attention
"All of life is the study of attention; where your attention goes, your life follows." - Jiddu Krishnamurti
While doing your work, don't shift between email and work. Focus attentively on your tasks and don't leave it until you accomplish the set target. Set two fixed times for reading and writing emails.
It has been found that after an internet disruption, it takes about 17 minutes to focus on our work. So, while working don't go over the internet.
18. Slice and Dice the Task
"The beginning of a habit is like an invisible thread, but every time we repeat the act we strengthen the strand, add to it another filament until it becomes a great cable and binds us irrevocably, in thought and act." - Orison Swett Marden
We all have an urge to complete a task, this is known as the compulsion to closure. We want every task to be finished earlier and when we finish it and take a rest, we feel more excited about the next one.
Finishing a big part of a task is generally not possible, so divide your task into small fragments and then tackle these fragments individually. Do a task for a specific period and then rest or switch, or, do a part of a task without thinking about the time and then rest or switch.
19. Create Large Chunks of Time
"Nothing can add more power to your life than concentrating all of your energies on a limited set of targets." - Nido Qubein
Successful persons plan their day in advance and create thirty, sixty, or 90 minutes of time blocks for doing some particular tasks. They assign a specific period to a specific activity and then stick to it. We should also set a time planner broken down by day, hour, and minute.
20. Develop a Sense of Urgency
"Do not wait; the time will never be 'just right.' Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along." - Napoleon Hill
One of the very important things in productivity is getting started doing the task. When you start doing any work, you have to put in a lot of energy but slowly when you start concentrating on your work by continuously working, you build a flow that drives you with less energy.
To do every task, build a sense of urgency to start doing it and stop not until it is 100% done.
21. Single Handle Every Task
"Herein lies the secret of true power. Learn, by constant practice, how to husband your resources, and to concentrate them at any given moment upon a given point." - James Allen
It has been estimated that the tendency to start and stop a task and then again start it can increase the time necessary to complete the task by as much as 500 percent. Each time you return back to work, you have to recall where you were last and re-focus on it.
Starting with a particular task and persisting with it until it is 100% completed is what decides your self-discipline.