04 Feb Top 10 tips to stop procrastinating with Brian Tracy, author of Eat That Frog!
Put your hands up if you have ever said, “I am too busy” or “I don’t have time”. I would imagine right now that many of you are sitting there with your hands high in the air. The reality is that for the majority of us we just don’t have time to complete everything on our to do lists. There is always going to be more work to do no matter how much you cross off. The key, however, is time management and focusing on the big tasks that will make a difference in your job rather than focusing on small tasks that won’t make an impact.
If you find you get distracted easily and never seem to get anything done, then the techniques below from time management guru Brian Tracy will help you make positive changes to your work and personal life. Ultimately, by implementing these techniques you could find yourself leading a very successful career.
1. Set the table.
Decide exactly what you want. Clarity is essential. Write out your goals and objectives before you begin.
2. Plan every day in advance.
Think on paper. Every minute you spend in planning can save you five or ten minutes in execution. Make your list the night before the workday ahead. When something new comes up, add it to the list before you do it.
3. Apply the 80-20 rule to everything.
20 percent of your activities will account for 80 percent of your results. Always concentrate your efforts on that top 20 percent. Before you begin work, always ask “Is this task in the top 20 percent of my activities or in the bottom 80 percent?” The most valuable tasks you can do each day are often the hardest and most complex but the payoff and rewards for completing these tasks efficiently can be tremendous.
4. Use the ABCDE Method continually.
Before you begin, work on a list of tasks, take a few moments to organise them by value and priority so you can be sure of working on your most important activities. An “A” item is defined as something that is very important, something that you MUST do. If you have more than one A task, you prioritise these tasks by A-1, A-2, A-3 and so on. A “D” task is defined as something you can delegate and an “E” task is something you can eliminate altogether. Review your work list and put an A, B, C, D or E next to each task. You will be completely organised and ready to get more important things done faster.
5. Apply the law of three.
Identify the three things you do in your work that account for 90 percent of your contribution, and focus on getting them done before anything else.
6. Prepare thoroughly before you begin.
One of the great techniques for overcoming procrastination is for you to get everything that you need to work completely ready, in advance. When everything is laid out neatly and in sequence, you will feel much more like getting on with the job. Be sure that you have all the writing materials, email addresses and everything else you need to start working and continue working until the job is done.
7. Take it one oil barrel at a time.
One of the best ways to overcome procrastination is for you to get your mind off the huge task in front of you and focus on a single action that you can take. One of the best ways to eat a large frog is for you to take it one bite at a time.
8. Upgrade your key skills.
Never stop learning. One of the most helpful of all time management techniques is for you to get better at your key tasks. The better you are at key tasks, you will find it easier to overcome procrastination and get the job done faster and better. Identify the most important things you do, and then make a plan to continually upgrade your skills in those areas.
9. Get out of the technological time sinks.
For you to stay calm, clearheaded and capable of performing at your best, you need to detach on a regular basis from the technology and communication devices that can overwhelm you. Resolve today to create zones of silence during your day-to-day activities. Turn off all communication devices and technology for one hour in the morning and one hour in the afternoon. You will be amazed at what happens: nothing!
10. Motivate yourself into action.
To keep yourself motivated you must resolve to be a complete optimist. You must decide to respond positively to the words, actions and reactions of the people and situations around you. Keep your minds positive by accepting complete responsibility for yourself and everything that happens to you. Refuse to criticise others, complain, or blame others for everything. Resolve to make progress rather than excuses. Keep your thoughts and your energy focuses forward, on what you can do right now to improve your life, and let the rest go.
Don’t delay. Eat that frog and get the most important tasks done today!
Extracted from Eat That Frog! By Brian Tracy. Read the book for the full 21 techniques.