Overhaul Your To-Do List With the “ABCDE” Method

A major obstacle to productivity is prioritizing your daily responsibilities, which is why to-do lists are so important. Obviously, doing your biggest or worst task first is one way to tackle the day’s duties, but structuring how you’ll do the rest is pretty important, too. The best way to go about that is to use the ABCDE method. When you’re planning out your day, give each task a grade. First, list everything you need to do. Then, give them a grade based on this outline: 

  • A — These are the most important tasks, anything that will have a consequence if it doesn’t get done, like paying a bill on time. 
  • B — These are tasks that also need to get done, but don’t have the dire consequences that those on the A list do. You have to get them done, but you have a little wiggle room. 
  • C — These are tasks that don’t have consequences for not getting done, but are things you really want to cross off your list. 
  • D — These are tasks that you can delegate to someone else. Say you need to go to the grocery store. Send your spouse or one of your children instead. 
  • E — These are the tasks you can eliminate altogether. They serve absolutely no purpose, have no consequences attached to them, and may even pull you off course. Say you wanted to go to get the laundry done today. It’s not a matter of life or death, so cross it off your list and do it another day. 

Once you’ve organized your list, schedule some time in your day to do each one. DO NOT MULTITASK. Do each thing in order, starting with A and move through the list to E. If you don’t get everything done in one day, don’t freak out about it. Just start the next day where you left off, and before you know it you’ll have everything on your list done.