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#9 – Book Review: Eat That Frog

Hot off the heels of listening to my first audiobook in the car on the way to and from work, I decided to see if the library had the next book on my list to read: Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy.  This is the one I found on in e-format!

It's a frog eat frog world by Mark SurmanEat That Frog is a book about not procrastinating.  Basically, it tells you to stop procrastinating already.  I mean, it did have some tips in it – the main one, which he states over and over again – is to figure out which task is your main priority (i.e., which task if going to get you the biggest and best results) and then do it.  Make it the first thing you do in the morning – don’t dilly dally checking your email, chatting to co-workers, or doing other low (or no) value tasks.  Just do it. I was hoping there would be some sure fire way to kick my butt out of procrastination mode, but this book just told me to set my mind to it and then do it.  But I wanted a magic bullet!!

Also, he does say a few things that are just a bit ridculous:

  • he claimes you should get 8 hours of sleep a night, at least 30 minutes of exercise per day1, read a full hour every day on your field to become more expert, take a full day per week off from any work, go into work a little bit early and stay a little bit late everyday, eat healthy (no junk food – meaning you’ll spend a fair amount of time grocery shopping, cooking & cleaning up after)…. it just doesn’t seem there’s enough hours in the day to do all he says
  • he also contradicts himself – at one point, he talks about spending time with family & friends as being the most important thing – it’s why you want to work more efficiently, so you’ll have time to socialize and be part of the community. Then he admonishes you not to “waste time” talking with your co-workers.
  • It seems like he makes us numbers. I mean, this might just be the academic in me coming out (why aren’t you citing your sources?? Oh right, it’s a book for the general public, not the New England Journal of Medicine!), but he throws around things like “doing X will make you 2, 3 or even 4 x more effective!” and “50% of a worker’s time is spent doing Y!” without every referencing where this comes from2.
  • He takes a page out of the Stuart Smalley handbook, pretty much telling you that you should be saying “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough and gosh darnit, people like me!  Except that I don’t talk with any of them at work because they are not a value use of my time.”

Also, one of his suggestions was to listen to education audio programs, such as this one, while in your car.  The average worker “wastes” 20 billion hours a year driving, so why not make it productive by learning stuff?  And I was all “I *am* listening to this in my car!”  And then I felt superior.

In fairness, since reading3 this book, I have decided to make more of a conscious effort to do my most important task first thing in the morning (instead of my usual email checking) and to even have my e-newsletters not show up in my inbox, so I don’t get distracted by them and can scan through them all at once, in a more efficient way, rather than being constantly jolted out of my important work when I see “ooh, there’s something in my inbox! Must check now!!”  It’s not like I didn’t know that I should do this, but I decided to actually challenge myself – since apparently no one is about to give me a magic anti-procrastination bullet!

1Citing the old recommendations. Current recommendations are to exercise an hour a day, so he’ll need to update that.
2Note to self: get hands on a hardcopy of this book and check for references!
3er, listening to

Image credit: Mark Surman on Flickr. And yes, that is a frog eating a frog. Which I found by doing a Flickr search for Creative Commons-licensed photos using the search term “eat that frog.” I love the Internet.

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8 Responses to #9 – Book Review: Eat That Frog

  1. I am being a total comment parasite today, but I am so excited to be able to read all your posts!

    Oh procrastination. I swear – grad school was a 2 year long exercise in it. I remember reading this Tomato Nation entry: http://tomatonation.com/?p=976 and having a huge “Aha!” moment. I'm a perfectionist! That's why I am so scared to start stuff – my immense fear of failure/making mistakes. For me, knowing that was half the battle. That and 'To Do' lists, and realising the truth in the old adage “No way around but through.” I mean, I still procrastinate, but since I understand WHY, it's easier to get past it.

  2. drbethsnow says:

    Not a comment parasite at all! Please keep commenting!! It's nice to know that someone is reading!

    I've flagged that entry to read later (not because I'm procrastinating, though, but because I'm blogathoning! – perfectionism –> procrastination? I think that = me too!

  3. She has a whole lot of posts on procrastination; perhaps you can glean a tip or two from that (once you've finished blogathoning and sleeping, of course).

    This is so exciting! It almost feels like I am hanging out with you today! I'm going to go garden for a bit, then see what you've said while I'm gone.

  4. drbethsnow says:

    It does feel like we are hanging out, doesn't it? I miss hanging out with you!! Can't wait 'til you come here in September!

    Have fun in the garden! Give Teddy a big kiss from his Aunt Beth!

  5. By the way — two months from today we'll be flying in to YVR. Tickets have been procured and everything (flying out at 11 am, in around 1. Westjet now has a direct flight and it was cheaper, so we're taking that. The rate for our hotel dropped, too, so I confirmed the lower rate yesterday. Woot! WE CAN'T WAIT!

  6. Kalev says:

    An hour of exercise a DAY?! Like nearly a full working day of exercise a WEEK?! Great good gods, I am doing REALLY well if I get to the pool for a 40min swim 3 times a week! Other than that and walking, I get no exercise. Where do people find the fucking time?!

    P.S. Am slowly catching up on your blogathon entries. Feel like I'm in a race. No fair that Sarah had an advantage because you started at 9am her time! 😛

  7. drbethsnow says:

    The hour per day doesn't have to be all at one time. So a 10 minute walk to the store here, taking a few flights of stairs there – it all adds up.

    It's best on the most recent evidence of optimizing health. It's not to say that you don't get health benefits from exercising for fewer than 60 minutes per day, but getting the full hour is optimal.

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