Pages

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Procrastination

Procrastination

Trent Hamm has written a review of Brian Tracy's book Eat That Frog!

Here is a quick description of the important points about procrastination that Trent draws out of the book:

The 80/20 Rule

Vilfredo Pareto, an Italian economist, observed in 1906 that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population. Curiously, he also calculated that 20% of the pea pods in his garden contained 80% of the peas. He surveyed the economies of other countries and found a similar income and wealth distribution in each.

A business-management consultant, Joseph M. Juran, developed the observations of Pareto into a principle of economics, the Pareto Principle. Businesses commonly cite a rule of thumb: "80% of your sales come from 20% of your clients".

The Pareto Principle is also known as the "Champagne Glass Effect", with the wider mouth of the glass holding 80% of the champagne, although it's only the top 20% of the height of the glass.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pareto_principle

This 80/20 rule applies to productivity: 20% of the time you invest in something will produce 80% of the results.

Brian recommends avoiding procrastination by recognizing and harnessing the power of that 20%. When you find yourself "in the groove" and being productive, don't stop. Regardless of when the project is due, it's better to spend a productive hour now than waiting until later when you might have three or four hours. Waiting until later virtually guarantees that that your mind will be less alert and less productive, despite having more time.

Prioritize: ABCDE

Brian recommends the "ABCDE method" of prioritizing your tasks. Tasks marked with an "A" are of the highest priority.

If you add the factor of due date, it will become obvious which task you should be working on. The "A" tasks with the nearest due date should be on your to-do list for today. Focus on that task, and only that task, until it's done.

Break the Task Down

Some projects seem too huge to handle. Looking at the whole project, from beginning to end, can overwhelm you, making it easier to just procrastinate.

Spend some time breaking that big project down into smaller pieces until the pieces by themselves seem manageable.

Single Tasking

After breaking the project down into small steps, start working on the first step and don't stop until it's done.

Procrastination is a sneaky fellow. He'll persuade you to do a task halfway and then quit. The half-done task will then languish in the morass of procrastination until you have to panic and finish the job in the very last moments before the deadline.

Read all of Trent's review of Eat That Frog! here: http://www.thesimpledollar.com/2011/04/03/review-eat-that-frog/

Image courtesy of Diana Myrndorff, modified with GIMP