Practice Creative Procrastination
By Brian Tracy,
The following post is an excerpt from chapter 5 of Eat That Frog.
A word about frogs… It has been said that if the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, you can go through the day with the satisfaction of knowing that that is probably the worst thing that is going to happen to you all day long. Your “frog” is your biggest, most important task, the one you are most likely to procrastinate on if you don’t do something about it. It is also the one task that can have the greatest positive impact on your life and results at the moment.
Practice Creative Procrastination
Creative procrastination is one of the most effective of all personal performance techniques. It can change your life.
The fact is that you can’t do everything that you have to do. You have to procrastinate on something. Therefore, deliberately and consciously procrastinate on small tasks. Put off eating smaller or less ugly frogs. Eat the biggest and ugliest frogs before anything else. Do the worst first!
Everyone procrastinates. The difference between high performers and low performers is largely determined by what they choose to procrastinate on.
Since you must procrastinate anyway, decide today to procrastinate on low-value activities. Decide to procrastinate on, outsource, delegate, and eliminate those activities that don’t make much of a contribution to your life in any case. Get rid of the tadpoles and focus on the frogs.
Here is a key point. To set proper priorities, you must set posteriorities as well. A priority is something that you do more of and sooner, while a posteriority is something that you do less of and later, if at all.
Rule: You can get your time and your life under control only to the degree to which you discontinue lower-value activities.
One of the most powerful of all words in time management is the word no! Say it politely. Say it clearly so that there are no misunderstandings. Say it regularly as a normal part of your time management vocabulary.
Warren Buffett, one of the richest men in the world, was once asked his secret of success. He replied, “Simple. I just say no to everything that is not absolutely vital to me at the moment.”
Say no to anything that is not a high-value use of your time and your life. Say no graciously but firmly to avoid agreeing to something against your will. Say it early and say it often. Remember that you have no spare time. As we say, “Your dance card is full.”
For you to do something new, you must complete or stop doing something old. Getting in requires getting out. Picking up means putting down.
Creative procrastination is the act of thoughtfully and deliberately deciding upon the exact things you are not going to do right now, if ever.
Most people engage in unconscious procrastination. They procrastinate without thinking about it. As a result, they procrastinate on the big, valuable, important tasks that can have significant long-term consequences in their lives and careers. You must avoid this common tendency at all costs.
Your job is to deliberately procrastinate on tasks that are of low value so that you have more time for tasks that can make a big difference in your life and work. Continually review your duties and responsibilities to identify time-consuming tasks and activities that you can abandon with no real loss. This is an ongoing responsibility for you that never ends.
Look at your work activities and identify the tasks that you could delegate or eliminate to free up more time for the work that really counts. Begin today to practice creative procrastination. Set posteriorities wherever and whenever you can. This decision alone can enable you to get your time and your life under control.
Brian Tracy is one of the top business speakers in the world today. He has designed and presented seminars for more than 1,000 large companies and more than 10,000 small and medium- sized enterprises in 75 countries on the subjects of Leadership, Management, Professional Selling, Business Model Reinvention, and Profit Improvement. He has addressed more than 5,000,000 people in more than 5,000 talks and presentations worldwide. He currently speaks to 250,000 people per year. His fast-moving, entertaining video-based training programs are taught in 38 countries.
Brian is a bestselling author. In addition to Eat That Frog, Brian has written more than 80 books that have been translated into 42 languages, including Kiss That Frog!, Find Your Balance Point, Goals!, Flight Plan, Maximum Achievement, No Excuses!, Advanced Selling Strategies, and How the Best Leaders Lead. He is happily married, with four children and five grandchildren. He is the president of Brian Tracy International and lives in Solana Beach, California. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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