In school my teacher taught me one strategy that worked very well: to answer the easy questions first in exams. Therefore in all my exams, I answered the simple questions first, ending with the difficult ones, especially in Mathematics where I was an average student and never managed to answer all questions because time was always never enough.
This strategy works only in school and not in business as Brian Tracy espouses in his book, ’21 Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less time’.
He used the analogy of eating the frog that is derived from words of Mark Twain. He said that, “If the first thing that you do when you wake up in the morning is to eat a live frog, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that’s probably the worst thing that is going to happen to you all day long.”
Live frog refers to your hardest or ugliest task that must nevertheless be done for you to succeed. Those are some of the things that we keep procrastinating and relegating to “some appropriate time”.
Procrastination, rather than lack of time and resources is one of the key reasons for failure in business as well as in general life.
I can bet that in the medium and long term, there are so many things you plan to do and you know that once you do them your life will be on the path of improvement but you have not yet started. It could be going back to school, start leading a healthy lifestyle, organising your desk or developing a written plan for your business.
On daily business too, we keep procrastinating and relegating some important task to “later” in the day. Brian Tracy writes that there are two corollaries to the rule about eating a live frog. The first one is if you have to eat more than one frog, eat the ugliest one first. This means start with the biggest and most difficult task because in most cases that is the one that makes the greatest difference.
Once you do the main things first, others become very easy and your day becomes amazingly nice.
The second corollary is, “If you have to eat a frog at all, which we all have to do, is that it does not pay to sit and look at it for too long.” It pays to spring into action and do it first and move on. This gives you some relief and motivation to move on and do other things.
Success in business is determined by what you do and when you do it. You reap what you sow.
Failure to do important things has nothing to do with time. People talk about effective management of time but you really cannot manage time. You can only manage yourself. So time management is essential in personal management.
Personal management by extension is about setting priorities to guide your actions. It is the ability to choose what is important and having the self-discipline to do it whether you feel like doing it at that time or not.
Prioritising is the single greatest determiner of success. Regardless of what you do, you will find that you won’t have time to do it all. Time is a limited resource that cannot be saved; it can only be spent. It goes by inexorably and inevitably. You can only spend it wisely on high rewarding tasks to get good results or drift through it doing things of low worth and keep struggling.
The main difference between successful and unsuccessful people is what they do daily. It is how they choose a task to engage in. Fortunately this is learnable.