My mentor Brian Tracy suggests the ABCDE method to prioritize, he says: it is the most powerful priority setting tool that you can use every day.
This technique is so simple and effective, that if applied consistently, can make you one of the most efficient and effective people in your field.
Call me old-fashioned, but I still believe in “thinking on paper.” Here is how it works: write down everything you have to do for the coming days. Next, you place an A, B, C, D, or E next to every item before you start with the first task.
Items with an A are defined as something very important, something that absolutely has to get done, not negotiable. Doing this task will have very serious positive consequences if you do it OR very serious negative ones if not done. So it’s absolutely critical to carefully consider this, think about what would happen if you did NOT do this, if the consequences are really bad you are less likely to blow it off A items are your frogs! Big, huge ugly frogs!
If you have several A tasks, you can number them: i.e A1, A2, etc. 1 is the biggest frog, 2 second biggest and so forth.
B items are tasks that you SHOULD do, but it has only mild consequences if you don’t. You can look at these as your tadpoles, If not done, someone may be inconvenienced or unhappy if you don’t do the task, but it is definitely NOT as important as an A task.
However, the rule is: never do a B task as long as there’s. an A task left to be done.
C tasks are items that would be nice to do but there aren’t really any consequences to speak of if you don’t do them. These activities really don’t have an effect on your business.
D tasks are items that are meant to be delegated… things that could AND should be done by somebody else.
The rule: delegate anything and everything that someone else can do, this allows you to free up time to take care of A tasks that can only be done by you
Finally, E items are tasks to be eliminated. Delete them from your to-do list since they won’t make any difference whatsoever. This may be a task that at some point was important, but is no longer relevant, so every minute you spend on an E task is taking time away from an A task or activity that would actually make a REAL difference.
Once you start applying this method of prioritizing you will be organized and ready to get more IMPORTANT things done faster. The Key to making the ABCDE method work for you is to discipline yourself to start immediately, not tomorrow, NOW.