“The first law of success is concentration – to bend all the energies to one point, and to go directly to that point, looking neither to the right nor the left.” – William Mathews
Achieving success demands many components but concentrating on your goal is the key to it. Prioritizing your tasks lets you focus your time where it’s most impactful. It makes you highly productive and action-oriented. The more time you invest in setting your priorities before you start, the faster you will finish. So here comes the ABCDE Method.
What is the ABCDE Method?
The ABCDE Method is a powerful prioritizing strategy invented by productivity expert, Brian Tracy. He is a Canadian-American motivational public speaker and author of over 80 books. One of his most popular books is called “Eat That Frog” and this is where the ABCDE Method comes from.
The idea of this technique is plain. In the evening after your work, you sit down and list every task you have to get done for the following day. It’s important to think on paper, not digitally! It has more benefits than you would think of. Then, if your list is completed, it’s time when the ABCDE Method comes into use. You place one of the letters A, B, C, D, and E in front of each task to prioritize them.
The power of the ABCDE Method lies in its simplicity. It doesn’t require special training or so. You can use ABCDE Method every single day and it takes only a few minutes a day to implement this technique into your life.
Eat That Frog & ABCDE Method
As mentioned above, the ABCDE Method is connected with the book called “Eat That Frog.” This book involves 21 principles to overcome procrastination and get more done in less time. The ABCDE Method is one of these principles, which Brian Tracy included in his book. If you would like to get to know more about Eat That Frog, you can check out our article Eat That Frog: 21 Principles To Achieve Your Goals.
How does the ABCDE Method work?
First, you must list everything you have to do for the next day. Think on paper. Once your list is completed, it’s time to start the ABCDE Method. Place the letters A, B, C, D, and E in front of each task on your list.
“A” Items Are Most Important
An “A” item is defined as something very important. It’s a task that might cause severe consequences if you fail to get it done. It also can be a task that has the biggest impact on your development. You should book your time for this task and focus all your mental energy on it. This is your “frog” if you use Eat That Frog methodology.
If you have more than one “A” item on your list, you should prioritize them by writing “A-1”, “A-2”, “A-3”, and so on. Then “A-1” is your most important task.
“B” Items Only Have Minor Consequences
A “B” item is a task you should do, but don’t have to. It’s not as important as an “A” item. The consequences of this task are less harmful. Someone might be slightly dissatisfied or unhappy if you fail to do it.
The rule is that you should never do a “B” task if an “A” task is left undone. You can’t allow these tasks to distract you from your main tasks.
“C” Items Have No Consequences
A “C” item is something nice to do, but it has no consequences if you don’t do it. Usually, it’s an activity connected with your social life, not with your work. It’s something that doesn’t have a real impact on your work life.
Sticking to the rule, never move on to a “C” task unless “A” and “B” tasks are done.
“D” for Delegate
A “D” item is a task you should delegate to someone else. It might be something that is just a formality for you but wastes your time and doesn’t affect your development anymore. Delegate “D” tasks to get more time to focus on “A” and “B” tasks.
“E” for Eliminate
An “E” item is something you should eliminate. It might be a task that is your habit or something you do to please others. You need to eliminate these kinds of tasks to free up your time and mental energy to work on “A” and “B” tasks. You can only get your time under control if you stop doing things that are unnecessary for you to do.
Tips for Making the ABCDE Method Work
1. Disciple Your Mind
Our minds always find the easiest tasks to finish. It’s a trick to make a false feeling of productivity. You can’t fall into this trap. To fight that, you need to force yourself to continually think about the most important and difficult tasks and just do them. You will find it easier if you stick to this, as time passes.
2. Don’t Do Anything That’s Not On Your List
Although you already created and prioritized your list, it’s the natural order of things that new tasks will approach you during the day. You need to fight that urge to treat these tasks as a priority because you already have yours. Stay focused and stick to the plan.
3. First Finish “A”, Then Go On To “B”
Don’t get distracted by low-value tasks. Once you finish one of the “A” tasks, you might feel fulfilled and get onto “B” or “C” tasks. Don’t be fooled. Firstly finish all of the most important (“A”) tasks and only then go on to “B” tasks.
4. Practice Regularly
Practice makes perfect. Don’t let your laziness stop you. Don’t deviate from your priorities. It takes only a few minutes a day to implement this technique. Make sure to practice continually to gain better and better results.
Benefits Of Prioritizing Tasks With the ABCDE Method
1. Accomplishing Your Goals Faster
Most people tend to overestimate what they can do in a short period of time, and underestimate what they can do in a long period of time. Using the ABCDE Method will let you work continually in a stable, effective flow. This will help you to achieve your goals faster than you would think.
2. Keeping Your Priorities Straight
Most people struggle with finishing their most important tasks due to internal and external factors. If you implement the ABCDE Method into your life, you’ll quickly discover that procrastination and nonproductiveness are no longer your problems. Your focus on the most important tasks will be sharper than ever and you will accomplish all your “A” tasks both effectively and quickly.
3. Clear Mind & Better Self-Assessment
In the rush of life, you might feel confused and overwhelmed. It feels hard to have everything under your control. You might fail to accomplish your tasks and stay focused. This might lead to low self-assessment.
With the power of the ABCDE Method, you will feel well-organized and action-oriented. This will help you accomplish all your important tasks and manage your time well. Your mind will be clear, as you will know you are following the right path. This will also lead to better self-assessment.