Because of the coronavirus outbreak and its exponential spread across different continents, panic and chaos followed. Everyone started stocking up everyday household products and food to prepare for a potential full lockdown in their countries. As more protective measures are being implemented in Thailand, many companies have taken actions to ensure their people are safe. Everyone has started to work from home, self-isolate and practice social distancing. But with anything new and different, we face a new set of challenges.
Problems with prioritizing our work and our tendency to procrastinate is a very normal habit for all of us, even in the workplace. But when we’re at home, it can get intense. With all the distractions around us, how can we not lose focus and track off?
Inspired by Mark Twain’s famous saying, motivational speaker and self-development author, Brian Tracy, wrote a book called “Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time”.
What the concept really means is that the first thing we must do in the morning is to “eat the frog”. What is simply means is complete the “frog” – our large, high priority tasks – so we can get it out of the way.
Doing this helps in many things: 1) To put your focus on your high priority task as it would be the first thing you would be tackling and, 2) Put aside the pressure of the high priority task aside so you can focus on other tasks throughout the day.
The name came from the 34th president of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower. Before his presidency, he served in the United States Army. He always needed to make tough decisions on a daily basis and finally came up with the Eisenhower Matric to help prioritize tasks.
The tasks are prioritized by urgency and categorized into 4 quadrants of different levels of importance as in the image. The matrix helps us understand what tasks we truly need to get done, but it also reveals what bad habits we should watch out for and do less of.
Warren Buffet needs no formal introduction – we all know him as a great businessman and successful investors of all time. Warren’s 2-List Strategy plays on the process of elimination. The story goes like this.
Warren asks Mike Flint, his longtime personal pilot, to write down his top 25 goals. It could be anything from his life goals, career goals or any goals he sees of great importance. Warren then tells Mike to circle his top 5 goals that are urgent and of high importance.
Mike was left with 2 lists – a list of 5 goals and another with 20. Mike understands this and tells Warren that he needs to work on his top 5, while only working on the remaining 20 when possible. But Warren said that he got it all wrong – Mike must avoid the 20 at all cost if he hasn’t completed the top 5.
This process of elimination isn’t about the ability to do everything but about placing focus on the most important and urgent tasks and then prioritize. This allows us to keep or work in high quality and, like the ‘Eat the frog first’ tactic, complete high priority tasks first to be able to focus on the remaining tasks.
We cannot do everything and this is why we must prioritize but at the same time keep our task load and goals realistic. What we can do is do the few tasks of high importance with full focus so we can create greater impact. It is all about quality, but with effective ways of prioritization, you can do more with a higher impact on your career, and business.