"I don’t have time” when I was working or “Time Pass” during weekends is a phrase I had said few years back and now I hear this often while talking to my family, friends, relatives, colleagues or clients and I’m sure you would have heard this too. I want to caution you that “Time Stays and People Pass Away” & you will agree with me that everyone on the world living in east or west, rich or poor, men or women or kids have one thing in common i.e., 24 hours in a day.
By the way, I follow many thought leaders and one among them is Brian Tracy and love his proven techniques & strategy on time management. It has helped me to scale and in fact one of my managers introduced me to prioritizing my to-do list and that’s how I embraced Brian Tracy’s technique.
However, some people achieve more and more in the same 24 hours and some people are unable to achieve much. Are you wondering why? I have heard many thought leaders coming on my podcast saying that they use journal on a daily basis. I have discussed about it in length in my earlier blog `Art of Journaling' and when you plan your daily activities; it is important to prioritize all your to-do list.
Here I’m referring you to one of the tools provided by Brian Tracy called ‘ABCDE’ method and i.e., all tasks which we perform on daily basis should be categorized as A, B, C, D or E.
What is ABCDE Method:
It is a powerful priority setting technique that you can use on your daily to-do list. This technique is simple, effective for you to prioritize all the tasks on a daily basis to be productive and efficient in what you plan to do. This method helps you to take action with clarity.
Brian Tracy says “Every minute spent in planning saves as many as ten minutes in execution.” So, to begin, you need to make a list of everything you have to do for the day and upcoming days and mark against each activity as ABCDE. So, lets understand what categories go under A B C D E?
A category task - considered as something that is very important. This is something that you must do. This is something that can have a serious consequence if not dealt at that time or moment (e.g. some task given by your client, report submission for your boss for a board meeting!). Sometimes you may have more than one task as A category, then you need to label it as A1, A2, A3 and not more than that as the essence of very important will be lost, and your A1 would be your highest priority.
RULE: Brian says, these A category tasks are your big, ugly frogs should be dealt as very important critical task as that will bring you the most success. So, focus on them.
B category task - a task that you should do but has only mild consequences failing to do them. These items are the tadpoles of your life. B tasks are small things for eg:, reviewing your email, discussion on performance improvement and activities which can be postponed if necessary. Hence you should resist the temptation and never get distracted by a tadpole when there is a huge frog on your plate and this habit will help you focus and get things done.
RULE: You should never do a “B” task when there is still an “A” task left undone.
C category task - is denoted as something that would be nice to do. These tasks have no consequences whether you do it or not. This sort of task has no effect at all and are quick and easy to accomplish. For eg., Having coffee or lunch with a coworker, attending a celebration, phone calls, and these tasks don’t make any impact on your goals.
RULE: You should not work on C task, when there are B or A tasks still pending.
D category task - is something that you can delegate to someone else. You should delegate as much as possible to other people. It will help you to engage in your A tasks which are very important as this will be the differentiator for your professional and personal life. Secondly it will empower you to collaborate with team in enabling them to work independently.
RULE: Delegate tasks which others are good at as this could lead you to progress in your goals
E category task – is something that you should eliminate altogether. You should stop doing irrelevant tasks that are no longer necessary for you to do. Also note that you will spend too much time on them however this will not add value to your bigger goals.
RULE: It will not make any real difference nor pose any serious effects, if not done
I was also wondering what happens if I get a new task or project in between? Brian says that you should not work on anything on the list, else you will end up doing which is not adding value to your main goals.
What does this mean – you don’t have to react immediately to the demands of others, and you need to review and only then, move that task appropriately in ABCDE category. This will enable you to have a control on what tasks you need to do and helps not lose control of your time.
Now that you are aware of what is ABCDE Method, your Call to Action:
Review all your to-do list or tasks right now and put ABCDE Category next to each task as per your priority and relevance.
Discipline and Consistency are the key to making this ABCDE work and this will be the best time-management tool for you.
Ensure you focus on A tasks (eat that ugly big frog first) & not move to any other things until it is complete.
Jim Rohn says `Motivation is what gets you started; Habit is what keeps you going’. So, be assured that time management is a great way to balance your work and your personal life in a way you want to live. Practice The ABCDE Method every day to get all your time to do the important things only, and that magic can happen only when you start delegating and stop doing irrelevant tasks. Your future will be assured by developing the habit of practicing ABCDE method.
Wishing you all the very best in time-management.
Look forward to your views & comments on How using this ABCDE technique impact your time management and I’ll be sure to follow up with you. Thank You!