There are a lot of reasons we choose one book over another. The genre the book is in, the author’s name, even the appearance of the cover. Sometimes, it’s the title of the book alone that manages to draw us in; occasionally a title will be so compelling, we just have to read.
Eat That Frog!was one such title for me. Rather than covering the finer points of fine amphibian dining, it’s actually about time managing your time and avoiding procrastination (which, I’ll confess, is one of my biggest bad habits). Does it actually help you to get motivated, or is the snappy title all it has going for it? Let’s find out!
Eat That Frog! starts with a Preface, introducing the author, sharing his success story, and stresses the importance of getting things done. The Introduction explains the general principles behind the book, as well as just how the name ‘Eat That Frog’ came to be. (It’s a reference to an old saying that if the first thing you do each day is eat a live frog, you can go through the day knowing that that will the worst thing to happen to you, just in case you were curious.)
The rest of the book consists of twenty-one methods of accomplishing more in your life. The first few chapters cover methods of planning your day so you can focus on the most important tasks, bringing up issues like the power of writing down your goals and applying the Pareto Principle (that 20% of your tasks will have as much (or more) value than the other 80%). Each of the chapters, here and throughout the book, ends with an ‘Eat That Frog!’ box that shows how to apply the lesson.
The next set of chapters start to cover the issue of prioritizing your tasks in more depth, providing suggestions on how to determine the most important tasks and separate them from those that are less important. There are also a few chapters that look into issues of focusing on the areas with the biggest impact on your life, and making sure that the most important tasks get done.
In the next two chapters (beginning with chapter 8, if you are keeping track), the focus is on getting yourself ready to succeed in your tasks, by preparing thoroughly for your tasks and making sure you’ve done your homework in your field. The next two chapters cover your special abilities, and unique restraints, that will affect your ability to make any progress, and tells how to handle both.
The next several chapters look at how to handle the tasks you are faced with, from taking large, seemingly impossible tasks one step at a time to maximizing your personal energy by modifying your sleep and work habits. There are also chapters on motivating yourself into action and putting pressure on yourself to succeed.
The pieces of advice the book are all about time management, from cutting down on the tasks that take up your time to doing your most difficult task first to breaking large tasks down into smaller portions. There are also suggestions on how to find large blocks of time in which you can get important work done, and how to keep focused on those important tasks. The book finishes with a review of the listed principles.
Eat That Frog! is quite interesting and very enthusiastic with its contents. The tips listed seem quite applicable, and the advice on applying them is sound. The writing overall is quite succinct, and the book makes for a fairly quick read.
The limited length of the book (I read it in under two hours, while typing the summary above) puts a cap on how much useful information can be contained. Many of the suggestions are things you’ve heard before. Also, let’s face it, the imagery of eating a frog, which is used throughout the book, isn’t terribly appealing.
Eat That Frog!provides a fairly decent amount of decent suggestions to keep yourself motivated and productive. More than a few are likely to be things you’ve heard before (take things one step at a time, prioritize your goals, take on the most important tasks first), but there are also going to some that you haven’t heard before. Overall, it’s a pretty solid guide to getting more done.