What is your dream? Stop procrastinating! Let’s make your dream into a goal and make that goal into reality.
If you want to get organized, if you want to simplify your life, then answer is to read Eat That Frog!
There’s an old saying that says, “If the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning is eat a live frog, then nothing worse can happen for the rest of the day!”
Author Brian Tracy says your “frog” should be the most difficult item on your to-do list, the one you’re most likely to procrastinate about, because if you eat that frog first, then it’ll give you energy and momentum for the rest of the day. But if you don’t eat that frog, and you let him sit there on the plate and stare at you while you do a hundred of other unimportant things, then it will drain your energy and you won’t even know it’s happening or why it’s happening.
In “Eat That Frog!“, Brian Tracy cuts to the core of what is vital to effective time management: decision, discipline, and determination. In twenty-one practical steps, he will help you stop procrastinating and get more of the important tasks done today!
Let’s break this down with an example!
Mandy has a goal of getting out of debt and buying a house. This is a common dream of a lot of people today. For many, it’s the epitome of the “American Dream”.
When I look at the list of things Mandy needs to accomplish to get out of debt and ready for such a purchase, the biggest frog she had to overcome was the opening of all those biller’s envelopes so she could make a list of everyone she owes and how much she owes to each.
For Mandy, looking at the bills brings up memories of bad choices and bad events, so instead, she brought all of the envelopes to Carefree Bookkeeping so we could open them up and make the list for her and completely removing the emotions from this task. You don’t have to eat the big frog by yourself you can ask for help.
Another big frog is making that budget.
People often think a budget is a bad thing; something constraining them. In actuality, a budget is freedom. Why? A budget is a plan or road map to how you’re going to get where you want to go and a view of how fast you can get there.
We started Mandy’s budget with the fixed expenses like rent, utilities, loan payments minimums. Then put in how much she has been spending on groceries, gas, clothes, entertainment, and eating out; based on her last 3 months of bank statements. Next, we made a list of the quarterly or annual payments like AAA, car tabs, insurance premiums, gifts, etc. Finally, we matched this total against her income to reveal any surprises; cracks or room for improvement or hidden opportunities.
Here’s where the “aha moment” comes in, a quick moment of clarity about their financial future on the current path.
Mandy’s response? “I can’t believe I have been spending that much on stuff I don’t have any more, or on food I had to throw away.”
This is a very common response after we go through the numbers with them. Other people have had their own aha moments… “If my income is X and my outgoing money is Y (which is bigger than the income) how have I been living?” And, the answer is usually because they’ve charged it on a credit card and have been using the bank’s money to float their cash flow, but at a steep premium.
The next step to get back on track… We had Mandy write down her goal dates for being out of debt and buying a house.
Mandy wanted to be out of debt within 3 years from the date we spoke and in the process of buying a house within 5 years. To help her accomplish this goal we will take her debt list and divide it by the 3 years to come up with monthly payments she can put toward that debt. It’s not a perfect number because of the interest involved in revolving debt or established loan structures, but it’s a number that will help get Mandy started toward that goal. The main thing is that she is doing it and working towards her goal. And, any time she has extra income she has made a promise to herself to become disciplined in putting it toward her smallest payoff or adding 1-3% into an emergency slush account.
Keeping a visual goal chart or vision board in a high traffic area where you are continually reminded of why you need to stay disciplined and what your reward will be after all the hard work you put into your goal.
Mandy will now work on the adjustable part of her budget like food and entertainment and find other areas where she can cut back spending. Mandy will not cut out entertainment because 3 years is a long time to go without fun, but she will lower the amount she’s spending and find free or cheaper things to do with her friends.
By eating the two big frogs on her plate, Mandy was able to make her dreams into goals and eventually buy that house.