Top positive review
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An easy read with a lot of sound advice.
on 12 June 2002
This is an easy read, and it contains a lot of sound advice - although none of the ideas is particularly new. As it is very list based, it will only appeal to people who like working with lists.
A 'frog' is defined as a task that is likely to make a major impact on your success, something important and possibly also substantial. It may also be a hard or 'ugly' task, which leads to a temptation to procrastinate. Tracy advocates 'eating' the ugliest frog first and avoiding the temptation to do easier pleasanter tasks.
Tracy leads the reader through the steps he believes you need to take to achieve greater effectiveness and success and to overcome procrastination. He starts with the importance of written goals - clarity about what you want to achieve. Setting yourself deadlines is an essential part of this process. Both these views are conventional time management wisdom, and they are very important. Tracy suggests that we need to develop an action orientation, for which goals are the basis. They are also the basis for task lists, with an ever-updated Master List being used as a foundation for monthly, weekly and daily action lists. These lists, in turn, are used as a basis for prioritising and planning - with further lists of activities for each project or task.
Interestingly, Tracy uses a straight line prioritising tool - from A (frog) to E (eliminate), and does not mention the quadrant method which has become more prevalent recently, and which is advocated as an important tool for prioritisation in Stephen R. Covey's 'First Things First'.
One of the messages I liked was the recognition - which is not always given in time management books - that most people are operating at full or more than full capacity, so there is a need to accept that you will never catch up with everything you want to do. This is why you need to learn to focus on the 'frogs' and key result areas and learn 'creative procrastination' with regard to most of the rest.
I also liked the emphasis on long-term planning as a framework within which to set goals and priorities. There is sound advice on continual self-improvement, too. Tracy advocates identifying your strengths and weakenesses within the context of your key result areas, so that you can leverage your strengths and work to build skills and abilities in the weaker areas.
If you work well with lists, the book provides sound, easy-to-follow steps which will undoubtedly help you to build your personal effectiveness.