Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time by Brian Tracy

If all of life’s commitments and expectations are overwhelming, this book may help.  It is filled with simple and practical tips for managing your time and tasks.  The book begins on an upbeat note:

This is a wonderful time to be alive. There have never been more possibilities and opportunities for you to achieve more of your goals than exist today. (p.1)

The author then makes a case for being selective:

As perhaps never before in human history, you are actually drowning in options. In fact, there are so many good things that you can do that your ability to decide among them may be the critical determinant of what you accomplish in life. If you are like most people today, you are overwhelmed with too much to do and too little time. As you struggle to get caught up, new tasks and responsibilities just keep rolling in, like the waves of the ocean.

For this reason, and perhaps more than ever before, your ability to select your most important task at each moment, and then to get started on that task and to get it done both quickly and well, will probably have more of an impact on your success than any other quality or skill you can develop.

The frogs are a metaphor for the tasks that may overwhelm us:

Mark Twain once said that if the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, you can go through the day with the satisfaction of knowing that that is probably the worst thing that is going to happen to you all day long. Your “frog” is your biggest, most important task, the one you are most likely to procrastinate on if you don’t do something about it. It is also the one task that can have the greatest positive impact on your life and results at the moment. The first rule of frog eating is this: If you have to eat two frogs, eat the ugliest one first. (p.2)

Each chapter provides practical suggestions such as using the Pareto Principle (80/20 rule), focusing on key result areas, identifying key constraints and getting out of the technological time sinks.  Applying just one or two strategies can lead to greater productivity, focus, and calm in the midst of an unmanageable workload.  This is one of the best time management books I’ve come across as it presents strategies that can be immediately applied to any busy professional’s life and for those of us who are so busy we cannot spare the time to read a book, take it one chapter at a time, focusing only on those strategies that speak directly to your situation.