Prioritize Using the ABCDE Method
feel overwhelmed and have too much to do.”
While I’ve had a great experience
using the MIT system, I know some people find it to be too
restrictive. Often, we’ll start the day
with a dozen things to do and it’s limiting to only focus on three core activities. If this sounds like you, then you
should prioritize each by using the ABCDE method.
With the 80/20 rule, we talked
about the importance of identifying the tasks that are most important in your
life and business. And with the MIT
system, we talked about focusing on completing three tasks each day. The ABCDE
method is different because you create a ranking system for a list of tasks and
systematically work through them. It’s different than the other techniques
because you’ll probably have a lengthy list of tasks that need to be
“A” tasks are mandatory to
complete every day. These are like MITs
because there are serious, negative consequences to not doing them.
“B” tasks are important tasks, but
are not considered mandatory for that day. They should be completed only after doing every “A” task.
“C” tasks are nice to do, but
don’t have a specific negative consequence or timeline.
“D” tasks should be delegated to
someone else. While they’re important,
these items don’t require your direct input or action.
“E” tasks should be
eliminated. This is when the 80/20 rule
comes into effect. If you find a task to be pointless during a weekly or monthly
review, then eliminate it from your life.
procrastinate because we feel
overwhelmed. By prioritizing your lists, you’ll discover what’s truly important
on a daily basis. When you keep procrastinating on an item, then it’s an
indication that it should be eliminated.
Finally, don’t forget about the
importance of a daily habit. While a
certain task might not be considered “urgent,” it’s still critical for your long-term success. Be sure to make sure this
task is added to the list of daily actions.
As an example, my
writing habit is never time
sensitive. However, I always consider it to be an “A” task because it forms the
foundation of everything I’ve achieved with my online business. I don’t rely on
“finding time” to write. Instead, I prioritize each day, so I’m
The ABCDE method is most effective
when done on a daily basis. Here’s the simplest way to form this
*1. Schedule five minutes each night for the prioritization habit.
(You can do it right after updating your habit tracking.)
*2. Look at your projects and identify what needs to completed for
the next day.
*3. Write down each task and place a letter next to each
*4. Reorganize these tasks on a new piece of paper, putting them in
an alphabetical ranking.
*5. Start each day with the “A” tasks. Move on to the lower
priorities only when you’ve
completed the important items.
*6. Examine these actions during a monthly review to make sure
you’re not doing things that can be eliminated or delegated.
We all have
different priorities. The trick is to
develop a system of identifying what’s most important on a daily basis. With the
ABCDE method, you’ll start each day with a clear-cut list of what needs to be
completed and the order in which they should be done.