Use the “ABCDE Method”
to organize your life
and get things done!
By Brian Tracy
Brian is a world-renowned author and speaker who teaches people how to achieve higher levels of success by managing their time and lives more effectively.
“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 to the left.”
The more thought you invest in planning and setting your priorities before you start a major project, the more important tasks you’ll be able to accomplish — and the faster you’ll get those tasks done.
And the more important the task is to you, the more you’ll be motivated to overcome procrastination and launch yourself into the job.
The “ABCDE Method” is a powerful priority-setting technique you can use every single day.
This technique is so simple and effective that it can, all by itself, make you one of the most efficient and effective people in your field.
Here’s how it works…
1. Think on Paper
The power of this technique lies in its simplicity.
You start by creating a list of everything you have to do for the coming day. Be sure to “think on paper” — you’ll want to write everything down.
Once you’ve finished, place an A, B, C, D or E beside each item on your list.
An “A” task is defined as something that is very important. This is something you MUST do.
It’s a task for which there can be serious consequences if you fail to do it, like visiting a key customer or finishing a report for your boss that she needs for an upcoming board meeting.
If you have more than one “A” task, you prioritize these tasks by writing A-1, A-2, A-3, and so on in front of each item. Your A-1 task is the most important and valuable task you need to accomplish. In other words, it’s your TOP priority.
2. “Shoulds” versus “Musts”
A “B” task is defined as something you should do — but if you don’t do it, there will be only mild consequences.
Someone may be unhappy or inconvenienced if you don’t do a “B” task, but it’s nowhere as important as an “A” task.
(For example, returning an unimportant telephone message or reviewing your email would be a “B” task.)
You should never do a “B” task when there is an “A” task left undone.
A “C” task is defined as something that would be nice to do, but for which there are no consequences at all, whether you do it or not.
“C” tasks include phoning a friend, having coffee or lunch with a coworker, or completing some personal business during work hours. This sort of activity has no effect at all on your work life.
A “D” task is defined as something you can delegate to someone else. You should make a point of delegating everything you can, so you’re able to free up more time for the “A” tasks only you can do.
An “E” task is defined as something that you can eliminate altogether and it won’t make any real difference.
This may be a task that was important at one time but which is no longer relevant to yourself or anyone else.
Often an “E” task something you continue to do out of habit or because you enjoy it. But every minute you spend on an “E” task is time taken away from an “A” or “B” task that can make a real difference in your life.
After you have applied the “ABCDE Method” to your list, you’ll be completely organized — and ready to get your most important tasks done faster.
3. Take Action Immediately
The key to making this ABCDE Method work is to discipline yourself to start your “A-1” task right away — and then stay at it until it is complete.
Use your willpower to get going and stay going on this one job. Don’t forget, it’s the most important single task you could possibly be doing.
Your ability to analyze your list of tasks and determine which is your “A-1” task is the springboard to higher levels of accomplishment, as well as greater self-esteem, self-respect and personal pride.
When you develop the habit of concentrating on your “A-1” most important activity, you’ll soon be getting more done than any two or three people around you.
4. Review: Put your learning into practice
- Review you work list right now and put an A, B, C, D or E next to each task or activity.
- Select your A-1 job or project and begin on it immediately. Discipline yourself to do nothing else until this one job is complete.
- Practice this ABCDE Method every day and on every work or project list — before you begin working on it — for the next month. By that time, you will have developed the habit of setting and working on your highest priority tasks, and your future will be assured!
You can order Brian’s hugely popular 6-CD audio program, “How to Master Your Time” by going to www.briantracy.com/master-your-time