Frog-eating for kids and adults

It’s back-to-school time, and schedules will be even more hectic with school, practice, get-togethers, and the holidays. So it’s a good time to plan to get more done.

Mark Twain once said: “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.”

Your “frog” is your biggest, most important task, the one that you are most likely to procrastinate on and the one that can have the greatest positive impact on your life.

That’s the inspiration behind a motivational book called “Eat That Frog! 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time [Second Edition]” (2007) by Brian Tracy. He shares the 21 most powerful principles to manage your time and get things done.

Tracy offers three simple rules for frog-eating:
1. If you have to eat two frogs, eat the ugliest one first.
2. If you have to eat a live frog at all, do it quickly.
3. Get rid of the tadpoles and focus on the frogs.

Based on the techniques in “Eat That Frog!” here’s an easy four-step plan for kids and adults to eat your frogs and get more done:

Step 1. Set the table. Write down your goals, focus on one, and then set milestones and deadlines.
Kids: what do you want to learn or accomplish this year? Do you want to learn another language, play in a musical show, dance in a hula competition, perform in a karate demonstration, earn enough money to buy a tablet computer? What things do you need to do to reach your goal?
Adults: what do you want to accomplish this year? Do you want to earn a promotion, find a job that better fits you, coach a sports team, run a half-marathon, start a small business? What things do you need to do to reach your goal?

Step 2. Plate it up: the ABCDE method. Write a list of everything you have to do and prioritize it with A (must do), B (should do), C (nice to do), D (delegate it), and E (eliminate it).
Kids: what school assignments, activities, and hobbies do you absolutely need to do? Are there hobbies you can give up so that you can do something you enjoy more? Are you doing too many extracurricular activities, and want to focus on just one or two? Can you cut down on some activities, like watching TV or playing video games or surfing the web, in order to take more time to reach your goals?
Adults: what office responsibilities, volunteer jobs, even household chores do you absolutely need to do? What can you delegate (maybe someone else would be a better fit or wants the chance to take on more responsibility)? Can you cut down on some activities, like driving the kids to school (try to set up carpooling with other parents) or cutting the lawn (maybe there’s a neighborhood kid who is willing to work) or having a family get-together (make it a potluck).

Step 3. Take small bites. Break down your goal into small steps, and work on them every day. Give each task 100% of your attention. Commit to finishing the bite.
Kids: when you’re working on your goal, are you thinking about homework, a new game, or a party this weekend – or are you focused on your task at hand? Can you create a space where you can plan, study, practice, or rehearse without distractions?
Adults: when you’re working on your goal, are you thinking about chores, a performance review, an episode of the latest TV show? Can you set aside “frog time” to work on your goal?

Step 4. Always eat dessert. Overworking, or trying to do too much, can mean underproducing, or doing a mediocre job. So work at your own pace, get enough sleep, take days off, and guard your physical health.
Kids: what sports, activities, and hobbies help you recharge? Is it reading, playing video games, going skateboarding, swimming, listening to music, talking with your friends?
Adults: what helps you relax and recharge? Is it playing basketball, watching sports or a movie, having a manicure or spa day, going out on a date night?

What frogs (goals or projects) are you putting off eating? How do you keep on top of your schedule?

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