Eat That Frog
"If the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, then you can go through the day with the satisfaction of knowing that that’s probably the worse thing that will happen all day." --Mark Twain
If you can identify and complete (eat) your most important task (the frog) each day, it will have a great impact on your life and make you more productive. This is the key concept behind Brian Tracy's time management technique, Eat That Frog!, and Toodledo is a great tool to help you accomplish this.
The first step is to identify your tasks and collect all of them into Toodledo. If it is a big project, we recommend that you make a folder. For a smaller project you can create a task. There's an old question mentioned in the book. "How do you eat an elephant?" The answer being "one bite at a time." So, within each of your projects you will create tasks and subtasks to break the problem down into smaller actionable steps. Purge your mind of everything that must get done to accomplish the project. Set deadlines and priorities as you see fit. You can then sort your to-do list by Importance or view your Hotlist to see your biggest, most important tasks.
The second step is to plan your time. From your master Toodledo to-do list, you will be making monthly, weekly and daily to-do lists. Toodledo is flexible enough to record this in a variety of ways (start-dates, tags, etc...), but we recommend that you use goals. Create a long term goal named "This month", and a short term goal named "This week".
At the beginning of each month you should do a review of your master list and use the goal field to mark the tasks that you want to complete this month. At the beginning of each week, you should review your monthly to-do list and select the tasks that you want to complete this week. You can then easily view your weekly to-do list from the Goals page on Toodledo and each morning you can pick the tasks from this list that you want to work on today. We recommend that you mark these daily tasks with a star. You can then quickly view your starred tasks, sort them by importance, and start eating your frogs.
Tracy's book describes the ABCDE method for organizing tasks.
- A = Frog. Important task. To be eaten soon.
- B = Should do. Mild consequences.
- C = No consequences if not done.
- D = Delegate.
- E = Eliminate.
We recommend that you store this data in the "context" field provided by Toodledo (you could also use tags). If you file all of your tasks into these 5 contexts, it will make it easier to manage your list. For example, when you are compiling your monthly to-do list, you could use Toodledo's context filter to only show A or B tasks and ignore the rest. Ignoring the least important tasks (what Tracy calls "Creative Procrastination") is one of the key principals of Eat That Frog!
An additional piece of data that Eat that Frog! recommends that you track is consequences. For each task, think about the long term consequences. Use the task's note to record the consequences for not doing the task and the impact of doing it. Knowing this will help motivate you to do the tasks that have the greatest positive impact on your life.
Using a motivational method like Eat that Frog!, along with a strong time management tool like Toodledo, will help you conquer your tasks in less time and be more productive. There are many more great ideas discussed in this lightweight book, and we recommend that you pick up a copy and check it out.
Toodledo is not affiliated with or endorsed by the Brian Tracy.