ABCDE Method For Optimal Productivity: Setting Your Priorities Right Everyday


[This is 13th chapter in the #ProductivityHacks series currently running on]

The first law of success is concentration – to bend all the energies into one point, and to go directly to that point, without looking left or right. – William Matthews

Human mind can be distracted pretty easily; we tend to give importance to the incoming, the new thing, and often set priorities wrong.

The task which was very importance 4 days back can be pushed and postponed if something new comes up right now, even if the new thing is not important.

Before we implement action on any given task, it is very important to set the priorities right, so that we devout our maximum energy to the most important task, and finish that before anything else. Even if we have created lists for managing the work, priorities should always be set right, in the correct order for maximum utilization of resources and time.

Brian Tracy in his book “Eat That Frog” suggests a very practical and easy guide to set priorities right by using a method known as “ABCDE” which has helped a lot. We will learn to implement this method in our daily lists, and increase our productivity to new levels.

Productivity Hacks Entrepreneurs-011

The magic of ABDCE method lies in its utter simplicity!


Step 1:

Take a paper, and write down all the important tasks which you need to complete today. You can take your daily list as well.

Step 2:

For every task which is very, very important, write “A” opposite it. Besides being important, the tasks classified as “A” are those which have a real positive or negative impact on your overall productivity.

Example being that important meeting with your customer, visiting your bank to sort out a financial issue, talking with your lawyer and so on. These tasks simply cannot be postponed, and every effort should be made to complete these tasks first.

If you have more than one such vital and crucial task, then place “A1”; “A2”; “A3” and so on. Once you start working, all the tasks labeled “A” should be completed first before any other task. No matter what incoming messages/mails/requests come to you, your mind should be programmed to finish these tasks with “A” first.

Step 3:

Next, identify those tasks which are mildly important; the tasks which have very minor consequences in the overall scheme of things. The tasks which can be done once the “A” classified tasks are over.

Tasks such as checking your email, calling a friend of yours, sorting the information and so on can be classified as “B”. These are the tasks which are necessary, no doubt, but are not time bound. You can do these later as well, but the rule is that once “A” is over, head over to “B”.

Step 4:

Now, identify “C” tasks. These are the activities which are optional; whether you do it or don’t do it, there would be no effect on your overall productivity.

Examples being watching a movie (unless you are a movie critic or a passionate movie watcher like me!), going to a party, wishing birthdays and so on. These are the type of tasks which can consume time and waste your day if attended first thing in the morning.

Type “C” tasks should be considered once “A” and “B” both are over; the activities which can be considered if your have fulfilled your main priorities and have time left.

Step 5:

Now, find out those tasks which can be delegated to others, and classify them as “D”. These are the tasks which can be outsourced or delegated to others so that you free your time and perform other vital tasks. One theory of Entrepreneurship states that every task which others can do, should be delegated.

You, being an entrepreneur should only perform those tasks which no one else can do. Initially, identifying type “D” tasks can be difficult as a passionate entrepreneur will want to finish all tasks by himself only; but with due diligence and practice, type “D” tasks can be identified, which can be a huge boost to your productivity.

Step 6:

And finally, identify those tasks which you can eliminate from your daily list and mark them “E”. These are the tasks whose importance has subsidized, and it no longer impacts your productivity.

Maybe it has become your habit to pursue these tasks, but even if you stop doing them, there would be no real difference to your life. Just like the “A”, “B”, “C” and “D” type of tasks, identification and classification of type “E” tasks are equally important so that your energy and resources are not wasted on unimportant activities which can consume your productivity.

The real magic of ABCDE method lies in its continuous execution and perfection by using it daily. Initially it may appear as tiring but remember that this is a process, which filters out the most relevant tasks scheduled in a day, and provides you with clear view about the most important tasks at hand.

It sets the priorities right for you, so that you do the most important and relevant tasks first, so that your day becomes more productive and more result oriented.

Previous Chapters in “#ProductivityHacks For An Entrepreneur” Series

  1. Understanding Importance of Time
  2. The Morning Activities
  3. The Four Step Plan
  4. Creating; Managing & Optimizing Lists
  5. Mastering Art of Collecting Information
  6. The Science of Creating a Process Out of Chaos
  7. How To Complete A Project Successfully
  8. The 6 Stage Model of Reviewing Your Productivity
  9. How To Fool Our Mind To Boost Productivity
  10. Four Ways To Relax Your Mind To Boost Productivity
  11. Importance Of 80/20 Rule In Productivity
  12. 9 Steps To Streamline Your Focus
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