Time management is a crucial skill for any entrepreneur or manager, as Brian Tracy explains in his book Eat That Frog. In this series of articles, we have been talking about Brian's top nine skills for business owners and entrepreneurs. Here are numbers four through six; first 3 tips are listed here.
4. If you have two frogs, eat the uglier one first.
Any time you have two or more important tasks, always begin with the hardest one. Discipline yourself to start on that task immediately, first thing in the day, and to persist at it until it's finished, without any distractions.
Think of this as a personal challenge, or a test, that you set for yourself each day; start with the hardest thing first. Fight the temptation to take the easy way out and start with a task you can finish right away. One of the most important decisions you can make each day is to start with the hardest task; keep reminding yourself of that fact.
Once your ugliest frog is out of the way, the less-ugly frogs will be easier to eat and the rest of your tasks for that day will feel even easier.
5. Practice creative procrastination.
Most time management experts will tell you that procrastination is your enemy and in many cases that's true; procrastination will prevent you from eating your frogs first, and will make your day more difficult.
But there's also another kind of procrastination, a creative, active kind that's based on the 80/20 rule. Once you have sorted your daily tasks into the impactful 20 percent and the less-important into the 80 percent, you actually should procrastinate on that unimportant 80 percent!
“Creative procrastination,” Brian Tracy says in Eat that Frog, “is the act of thoughtfully and deliberately deciding upon the exact things you are not going to do right now, if ever.” Note that this kind of procrastination isn't instinctual avoidance of tasks that don't feel good; it's the active choice to tackle the hard tasks first, and to put off the easy, unnecessary ones.
6. Take time to ponder.
Most of these other skills emphasize active work but strategic planning is an equally important aspect of time management. Not every second of the day needs to be filled with frantic activity. Successful people know they also need time just to think.
Set aside time each day to look through your task list and consider whether you're prioritizing your frogs first. Ask yourself if there are tasks you could eliminate or delegate to someone else. Ask if you are really seeing the benefits you expected to see from the tasks in your top 20 percent.
Also, spend some time thinking about the rewards of completing the tasks in your top 20 percent. You value these tasks highly because they lead to concrete benefits in your life and the lives of people around you. Focus on those benefits before you begin them.
Brian Tracy's book Eat That Frog contains lots more details on time management techniques like these. You will also find more in the third and final article of this series. A FocalPoint Business Coach can provide you with tips like these, along with others which you will find throughout the FocalPoint Business Coaching and Training website. Our professional global Business Coaches will assist with making your customers into passionate supporters of your business. All it takes is a little kindness, and a lot of attention to detail. Contact a FocalPoint Business Coach today.