21 Apr

From "Eat That Frog!"

Do you find yourself overwhelmed by daunting tasks? Both Alan Lakein and Brian Tracy have offered timeless methods to tackle this common issue in their influential books on productivity. Lakein introduced the Swiss Cheese Method in How to Get Control of Your Time and Life, and Tracy reiterated its effectiveness in his bestseller, Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time.

Step 1: List and Prioritize Your Tasks

Start by writing down all your tasks. Don’t keep them in your head. Once listed, prioritize them using the ABC system:

  • A (High Value): Tasks with significant consequences or benefits.
  • B (Medium Value): Important but less critical tasks.
  • C (Low Value): Tasks with minor implications.

Break larger tasks into sub-tasks (e.g., A-1, A-2) to make them more approachable.

Step 2: Apply the Swiss Cheese Method

This method involves making small, five-minute "holes" in your "block of cheese" (the daunting task). Begin with instant tasks that are easy and related to the larger goal. For example:

  • For a thesis: Download specific research papers.
  • For programming: Refactor a small piece of code.
  • For writing: Edit a single paragraph.

Integration with "Eat That Frog!"

In Eat That Frog!, Tracy emphasizes the Swiss Cheese Method alongside the Salami Slice Method as practical approaches to overcoming procrastination. He suggests starting with the most challenging tasks ("eating the ugliest frog first") and using these methods to build momentum. By breaking tasks into smaller, manageable actions, you reduce the psychological burden:

  • Create Instant Tasks: Commit 5-10 minutes at a time to a task. This could mean organizing your research notes, drafting an email, or sketching a project outline.
  • Return Repeatedly: Keep coming back to add more "holes," gradually making the task less overwhelming.

Why It Works

These techniques turn intimidating tasks into series of actions that are easier to start and finish. They help you make progress in small increments, which accumulates to significant achievements. This method not only eases the task itself but also boosts motivation and clarity as you chip away at your goals.

Whether it's Lakein’s methodical breakdowns or Tracy's frog-eating strategy, the core idea remains: start small to finish big. The Swiss Cheese Method, as highlighted in these best-selling works, provides a practical roadmap to navigate through procrastination and efficiently tackle tasks. So next time you're stuck, remember: just take a 5-minute bite and start making holes in that cheese! This approach is not only about getting things done but also about changing your reaction to overwhelming tasks from avoidance to engagement. Why not give it a try today? You might find that the task you've been dreading isn't as daunting as it appeared.

Looking for other ways to prioritize and manage your team? Talk with our Deep End Coaches at hello@deependstrategies.com.