Organisation has never been one of my strongest points. I have had to work very hard over the years to get myself out of the habit of leaving everything to the last minute. I was always the kid at school finishing his homework on the way to school, or starting/finishing his revision the night before exams. I took this attitude into my early career and realised very quickly that unless I changed there was always going to be somebody better prepared than me; always somebody who would make a better impression; always somebody that would get promoted faster or earn more money etc etc.
I have read and practiced lots of different time management tools over the last 10 years; I picked up some different ideas whilst working on my CMI qualification last year. I wanted to mention a book that has helped me the most, it’s a very simple concept but I use it everyday.
I read Eat That Frog, written by Brian Tracey, a couple of years ago. The main concept is as follows; 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. The frog is the one task you are most likely to leave until the end of your day if you don’t do something about it now. It is also the one task that can have the greatest positive impact on your life and results.
These are the main things I took from Eat That Frog:
1) Your ability to select your most important task at each moment, and then to start on that task and 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!
2) If you develop the habit of setting clear priorities and getting important tasks completed quickly, you will run circles around a genius who talks a lot and makes wonderful plans but gets very little done.
3) You must resist the temptation to start with the easier task! You must continually remind yourself that one of the most important decisions you make each day is your choice of what you will do immediately and what you will do later – if you do it at all.
4) If you have to eat two frogs, eat the ugliest one first! This is another way of saying that if you have two important tasks before you, start with the biggest, hardest, and most important task first.
Using the above I am able to prioritise affectively and make sure I get everything done, especially the harder things to deal with that you would rather delay or ignore. I love eating frogs now, delicious.