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Weekly Course on Time Management – Week 13 – Theories of Time Management The ABC Method
The main idea behind time management is that we should complete all the work that we have planned for the day within the limited number of hours that we have on our hands. If you manage to do it, you will be called a good time manager, but if you fail to do it, you will only be left with a heap of work that keeps growing in size every single day.
Earlier in this weekly course on time management for busy bee homeschool moms, I discussed the importance of prioritizing your work. Today, I will teach you how to prioritize your work using the ABC Method of time management and prioritization.
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What is The ABC Method?
In 2001, an American-Canadian author and motivational speaker published his self-help book titled “Eat That Frog!” (Note: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This means that I get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.) The title and idea of the book were inspired by a famous quote of Mark Twain in which he summarized what the prioritization of tasks is. He said, “If it is your job to eat a live frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”
The ABC Method also teaches us to approach our work in the order of importance. The more important and time-consuming work should be addressed first, and then you should proceed to simpler and less important tasks.
The tasks which are extremely important for the day should be assigned letter A. The less important tasks should be assigned letter B and so on.
Take a look at this:
A – These are the extremely important tasks for the day, and completing them will bring you an inch closer to your goals. Failure to complete these tasks could result in major setbacks.
B – These are the less important tasks for the day. You have to finish this work, but it can be left aside for another day or time. Failure to complete these tasks could result in minor setbacks.
C – These are the tasks that you can easily do during your free time because neither are these tasks time-bound nor will there be any repercussions if you fail to complete them.
D – These are the tasks that you don’t necessarily have to complete yourself. You can assign them to others and follow up.
E – These are the tasks that are completely unimportant when you think about them and hence can easily be erased from your to-do list.
Breaking it Down Further
At this point, you must be looking at your to-do list and thinking, “But all of these things are important, so how will I know which one should be completed first?” Well, firstly, all tasks cannot be equally important. Your day is always filled with tasks that range between:
Most important – Important – Less Important – Unimportant – Useless
And that is exactly how you will arrange them under each letter. But in case you feel that there are more than 1 tasks that deserve to be ranked under A, you can always assign them numbers.
A1- The extremely important task for the day, which must be addressed first in the morning. Like, calling the plumber to fix the overflowing toilet in your washroom.
A2- The extremely important task for the day, which can be addressed second. Like, mailing your colleague the documents for order placement.
A3- The important task for the day that can be addressed third. Like, planning the first quarter of your son’s curriculum outline.
The Cardinal Rule of ABC Method
The only rule of the ABC method is that you cannot break the order. You cannot move on to the next task on the list unless you have completed the first one. Meaning, you cannot move to A3 after completing A1 because you are yet to complete A2.
This cardinal rule will teach you that life is a step-by-step process. You cannot jump steps. Similarly, work must be approached step-by-step, in descending order, starting from the biggest and finishing with the smallest.
What Should You Do?
- Categorize your work using the ABC method.
- Remember that all the tasks listed under A should get you closer to your goals.
- Follow through with the ABC Method for at least 2 weeks.
- Always remember the cardinal rule of the ABC method to eliminate distractions.
- Learn to say NO because people and circumstances will push you to break the order of your list.
Extra Piece of Advice
- Do not have more than 3 tasks under each letter.
- All the tasks under A should collectively take 5 hours of the day.
- All the tasks under B should collectively take 2 hours of the day.
- All the tasks under C should take less than an hour of your day.
Good time managers always know how to prioritize their work. They know what tasks are important for accomplishing their goals. That’s why they address those tasks first thing in the morning and spend a considerable amount of day addressing them.
The ABC Method teaches us to prioritize our work in order of importance using the letters A, B, C, D, and E. The cardinal rule of the ABC method ensures that we eliminate distractions and do not leave our important work for later.