If you haven’t read the last three parts, you can find them here:
In the previous part of the series, we dealt with the 6-P rule of prior proper planning. We also saw how you should plan every day of yours prior to beginning it and what its advantages are.
In this part, we are mainly going to take a look at the ABCDE Method of Time Management. This method is the one that’s going to help you plan your day properly and execute the tasks accordingly in order to improve your productivity, management of time and your efficiency.
The article is divided into the following sections:
– Scenario TFDR
– T’s Dilemma
– The ABCDE Method
– Practical Implications of the ABCDE method
Scenario TFDR (Tiger – Fox – Deer – Rabbit):
Let’s imagine a Tiger. Let’s call him Mr. T!
Okay, that’s a sad tiger. You know why?
It’s searching for a prey, it’s so damn hungry and all it wants to do now is to find something/someone to eat! At a distance inside the forest, it spots a cute rabbit.
It also spots a pretty happy deer,
and a seemingly very happy fox which is pretty immersed in its fantasy funny dreamland!
Let’s just assume that the rabbit, the deer, and the fox are not aware of each other’s existence in that place. Let’s just say the three are in a different place, at a different direction, all viewable from the tiger’s position. Maybe the deer unknowingly passes by the sad hungry tiger like this –
Now, at a time, it can go and kill only one of those poor happy souls right? The tiger is very hungry now. It can choose either of those three animals to pursue, catch, kill and eat first.
If it chooses the rabbit, it might very well kill it. But will the rabbit be able to satisfy its hunger? No. If, in its pursuit, the deer or the fox got alerted and ran away, it would lose all of its prey, right? And, it would be so hangry.
What would a wise tiger do? It would first kill the biggest of all the three animals, probably the deer.
It would pursue the deer while it runs for its life like this:
The tiger would kill the deer first. It might probably pursue the other animals to kill and then eat them all at once.
But, even if the fox and the rabbit got alerted and ran away like this
the deer would most probably suffice to satisfy the hunger of our tiger Mr. T.
How does this relate to time management? I guess you must have a pretty rough idea by now.
The ABCDE Method:
Let’s dive into the ABCDE method.
Take a look at the things you do every day from the morning till night when you go to sleep. After you have identified all the things that you do, divide them into the following categories.
A – The very important tasks. These tasks belong in the ‘must do’ classification. You must definitely do these tasks in order to accomplish success for that day/week/month/year. Tasks like completing a module of code for the upcoming deadline in your office, practicing the piano for the upcoming grade concert, finishing the website design and development to take the site live within a week, etc., come under this category.
B – The tasks in this category come under the ‘should do’ classification. These are not as important as the category A. You should do these tasks because these tasks might directly or indirectly impact the tasks under category A or might create a different impact altogether if left undone. Tasks like fixing the bugs in the previous modules that the new module will be dependent on, doing module testing, practicing the scales and arpeggios and the warm-up exercises before starting to practice for the concert pieces, testing the website responsiveness and design errors before moving on to the live deployment – things like these come under category B.
C – The tasks in this category come under a ‘nice to do’ classification. These tasks are nice to do, but if you don’t do these tasks, nobody is gonna come and grab you by your collar and ask you why you didn’t. Tasks like calling a friend, joining your friends on an outing, playing pool with your colleagues, etc., come under this category. They are really nice to do, and you also have fun doing these kinds of tasks, but they don’t have any impact on your career or personal success in your life.
D – The tasks that come under this category are those tasks that you can delegate. These are the tasks that you can get someone else to do for you. Tasks like getting groceries, buying food related stuff, washing the clothes, etc., come under this category since you can clearly delegate all of that to someone/something else. Delegate everything possible to free up as much time as possible.
E – The tasks that come under this category are the ones that you must eliminate. These tasks don’t need to be done, and these are the kind which even when done has no impact on your life or your success. The tasks like watching the recent episode of Game Of Thrones, watching TV shows, playing video games or just mindlessly browsing Facebook, StumbleUpon, etc., come under this category. They are clearly not going to have any impact on your performance or your success with respect to your goals, and if anything, they are only going to take you further away from your goals. These are the tasks that come under the “must eliminate” category. You have to ruthlessly say NO to the tasks of this kind and eliminate them from your daily life if you want to succeed in the goals that you take up.
You have to classify the tasks in those categories and when you classify, there’s a trick that could help you. Never do a B item when A is left undone. Never do C when B is undone. Eliminate, more time, no value,
Think about the tasks that you are writing down in terms of the consequences of doing/not doing them. Never do a B item when A is left undone. Never do C when B is undone. Eliminate, more time, no value,
An “A” task will have serious consequences if left undone. They will definitely impact your success in whatever you take up in a huge way.
On the other hand, a “B” task, will also have some serious consequences if left undone, but not as impactful as an “A” task. Similarly, a “C” task might have pretty mild consequences, a “D” task and an “E” task might have no consequences at all, if left undone.
The practical implication of this is that you should never do a “B” task when there is an “A” task left undone. Also, you should never do a “C” task if a “B” task is left undone. The trick here is to focus on the most important task and keep at it until you are done with it.
The ABCDE Method in the media:
If you didn’t know already, the book Eat That Frog! is nearly based on this method. The book says that you should eat the frog as the first thing in the morning. Eating a frog is disgusting, awful and very, very difficult. Now, if someone puts a gun to your head and asks you to eat that frog as the first thing in the morning, probably this little one right here,
nothing in this world would be any more difficult than eating this frog, don’t you think?
Also, the secret is to not keep the frog in your hand and keep waiting for the bravest moment to swallow it. The trick is to pick up the frog, put it in your mouth, swallow it, and move on.
Now, once you swallow that frog and get over that disgusting swallowing the frog thing, nothing else in this world would be that much difficult to you. What happens then? You find everything else easy to do/accomplish.
That’s the way with the ABCDE method too. You complete the most difficult and the most important tasks, tasks that would have pretty serious consequences if left undone, as the first thing in the morning. You pick one such task, you keep at it until you are done with it and you continue doing that for the further ones. That’s how you accomplish so much. Once you do the hardest task as the first thing every morning, the other tasks become easier to accomplish because everything else is relatively easier.
1. Write down all of the things that you must accomplish on a particular day. Let’s say you are planning for tomorrow. Write down everything you want to accomplish tomorrow.
2. Now, divide the tasks according to the ABCDE categories given above.
3. Divide the tasks you have written under the A, B, C categories into A.1, A.2, A.3, B.1, B.2, B.3, etc., based on priorities within the list of tasks under each category.
4. Get started right away with the A.1 task and stay on it until you complete it and then move on to A.2 and so on.
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