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Swallow the Bullfrog

by Eric Herrenkohl
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52 Performance Principles Sponsor

A friend and I were talking recently about time management and prioritization. I told him that for me, the key to getting things done is to know the single most important thing I must do that day and to do it first. That way, it is impossible to get to the end of the day and say, “I did not get anything done.”
My friend looked at me and said, “That’s called swallowing the bullfrog.”

“Excuse me?” I said.

He went on to explain. “Swallowing the bullfrog means you have a hamburger on your plate, some fries, and a bullfrog. You are required to eat everything on your plate. What do you eat first? The bullfrog, of course, so that you can get it out of the way.”

Performance Principle: Swallowing the bullfrog means doing the important things first even if they are not enjoyable. In business you have to prioritize completing tasks that are not fun in order to get ahead.

That means:
1. Before you respond to your email, follow up with prospects that have not gotten back to you yet. Your email will still be there when you are done.
2. Before you spend more time on that deal that is about to close, invest an hour in setting up appointments with brand new prospects. Your current deal will close – but you will only have new deals to work on if you prospect now.
3. Before you spend an hour completing your expense report, spend an hour researching the executives of the company you are meeting with next week. Your productivity next week depends on your preparation this week.
4. Before you do anything else, call that customer who has a complaint or problem and get it worked out. In the end, everything we do is focused on creating a great customer experience.
5. Before you get involved in administrivia on your desk, follow up again with that prospect you met with two weeks ago. Don’t wait for prospects to become clients. Ask them to move to the next step with you or move onto other prospects.

The key to time management is to know your priorities and to address them first. If you keep that in mind, and are willing to “swallow the bullfrog” every day, you will get great results.

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