“Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.” – Raymond Chandler

In his book “Eat  That Frog”, Brian Tracy has all the right ideas. He reminds us of many of the things we have talked about in ETR concerning personal productivity and achieving goals, including:

1. Decide what you want to do in life. Tracy calls this “setting the table,” and points out that being clear about your goals is perhaps the most-important requirement of success. In ETR, we suggest that you pick four top goals — one financial, one health-related, one social, and one personal.

2. Plan your success in advance. As we do, Tracy advocates setting long-term goals and then using them to establish yearly, monthly, weekly, and, finally, daily goals.

3. Apply Pareto’s Rule (see Message #1166) to your goals. Recognize that 20% of the tasks you set for yourself will create 80% of your success. In setting goals — and even in considering daily actions — try to identify what the key tasks are and give them priority.

4. To help you determine your key tasks, consider the consequences, positive and negative, of completing and/or not completing each of your listed goals. The goals that carry with them the greatest rewards when completed should be given the greatest attention.

5. After you’ve listed your daily tasks, but before beginning the day, rank each one as an “A” task, a “B” task, a “C” task, a “D” task, or an “E” task. “A” tasks,

Tracy says, should be those that have very negative consequences associated with not completing them.

At ETR, we believe that after a week or two of practicing our goal-setting program, you will have very few if any such emergencies. Instead, make your “A” tasks those that will give you the greatest rewards — and especially those tasks that you have been putting off because they aren’t urgent. “C” tasks, Tracy suggests, can be delegated and “E” tasks should probably be circumvented or ignored.

6. Figure out how you can make the greatest contribution to your company and focus your energies and time on achieving just a handful of these key results. How do you determine the most important contributions that you can make at work? Usually, they will involve activities that will result in higher profits for the company. If you have any doubts as to what these might be (and you shouldn’t), ask your manager.

7. Identify the major things that are holding you back from achieving your goals — external restraints or psychological hang-ups — and work hard to overcome them.

8. Identify your chief personal strengths and make sure that your approach to success takes advantage of them. If, for example, you have an outgoing personality, offer to give presentations or run training sessions that will make you visible to company executives. If you’re more of a bookworm, produce outstanding reports on opportunities that will help your company get ahead.

9. Don’t wait for anything to happen before you start your life-success plan. Motivate yourself every day in every way. The best way to motivate yourself is to tackle your most-important and most-difficult task first thing in the morning. Tracy calls this “eating the frog.” By “eating the frog,” you’ll accomplish three important objectives:

  • You will immediately ensure that your most important task will be completed.
  • You will have a sense of accomplishment that will carry over all day.
  • You will be able to work on your other tasks “guilt-free” — and, as a result, you’ll be more productive.

Established in 2001, Early to Rise publishes information dedicated to helping you live your best possible life. Here you’ll find effective and proven strategies to increase your health, wealth and productivity.