Get Hard Things Done: Use the Eat the Frog Method

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "Eat That Frog!" by Brian Tracy. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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What is the Eat the Frog method from Brian Tracy’s Eat That Frog? How can using the Eat the Frog method help you become more successful?

If you’re able to do important things quickly, you can surpass someone with great plans who fails to follow through. This article includes tips on how to use the Eat the Frog method to accomplish challenging tasks.

Keep reading for advice on using Tracy’s Eat the Frog method.

The Eat The Frog Method

According to Brian Tracy, if you’re able to do important things quickly, you can surpass someone with great plans who fails to follow through. Mark Twain had a metaphor for getting hard things done: if you have to eat a live frog, do it right away, so that everything after that is easier by comparison.

The Eat the Frog method says that your most important task—the one you’re most inclined to put off—is the frog

Here are the key things to know about the Eat the Frog method or accomplishing challenging tasks:

  • Completing your most important task contributes the most to your success.
  • If you have two important tasks, or two frogs to eat, eat the worst one first—that is, start with the hardest task.
  • Discipline yourself to start on the most important thing immediately and persevere to the end. Treat it as a personal challenge. 
  • If you have to do something hard, or eat a live frog, it doesn’t help to dwell on it; just do it. Studies have shown that the most successful people are action-oriented—they jump right into big jobs and persevere until they’re done. In contrast, in many companies, there’s way more talk than action, which is why these companies aren’t as successful as they could be.

Make It a Habit

To succeed, you need to develop success habits. The key to the Eat the Frog method is overcoming procrastination and tackling your most important task. With diligent practice, it eventually becomes automatic. 

Making a habit of getting your most important things done has two payoffs: immediate satisfaction and long-term success. Doing hard tasks successfully sets up a positive feedback loop. Completing a big job releases endorphins in your brain that make you feel good. You experience a burst of energy and self-confidence. The more important the task, the happier getting it done makes you feel.

A secret of success is that you can get addicted to the endorphin-induced feelings of self-confidence and capability that come from completing a big job. Subconsciously, you aim to complete more such tasks because you’re addicted to success.

It’s one of the keys to long-term success and living a happy life. When you have a success habit, it becomes easier to do the important things than to dodge them.

There are three steps to developing the focus and perseverance to get things done: decide, discipline yourself, and practice:

  1. Decide to make getting important things done a habit.
  2. Discipline yourself to apply the principles in this book.
  3. Practice the habit until it becomes automatic.

Visualize a New You

You can use the technique of visualization to speed up your progress toward increasing your productivity with the Eat the Frog method. 

Your self-image drives your behavior—so to improve yourself, you need to change your mental picture. Think constantly about the benefits of being focused and getting things done. Visualize yourself getting important jobs done quickly and well. For instance, if you have a major presentation to prepare for, visualize yourself sitting at your desk, entirely focused on your task, ignoring your phone and email, and persevering until you’re fully prepared. 

Your ability to learn and develop success habits is unlimited. When you train yourself to do the important things—to eat your frogs—you set yourself up for success.

Get Hard Things Done: Use the Eat the Frog Method

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Like what you just read? Read the rest of the world's best book summary and analysis of Brian Tracy's "Eat That Frog!" at Shortform.

Here's what you'll find in our full Eat That Frog! summary:

  • What it means to eat a frog
  • How your daily distractions get in the way of doing important work first
  • How to make a habit of doing the most important thing first, every day

Hannah Aster

Hannah graduated summa cum laude with a degree in English and double minors in Professional Writing and Creative Writing. She grew up reading books like Harry Potter and His Dark Materials and has always carried a passion for fiction. However, Hannah transitioned to non-fiction writing when she started her travel website in 2018 and now enjoys sharing travel guides and trying to inspire others to see the world.

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