Set Priorities and Stay Focused

A Handy Priority-Setting Method
Set Priorities and Stay Focused


  • Are you overwhelmed with tasks?
  • Is your To Do list only getting longer?
  • Do you struggle to focus on what really needs to get done?

“Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task”– William James

If you’re a ‘mañana, mañana’ kind of person, then bear in mind this Spanish proverb, “Tomorrow is often the busiest day of the week”.

To nip procrastination in the bud, try this handy priority-setting method from Brian Tracy’s popular self-development book ‘Eat That Frog!’

It’s called the ABCDE Method and it’s great for getting organized, prioritising and staying on track. It’s based on the premise of focusing first on the most important tasks. As Dale Carnegie once said, “Do the hard jobs first. The easy jobs will take care of themselves.”

“How soon ‘not now’ become ‘never’” – Martin Luther King Jnr

Here’s how it works: Start with a list of everything you have to do for the coming day. Then place an A, B, C, D or E next to each item on your list according to the following definitions.

The ABCDE Method

A: Very important, a ‘must do’. Serious positive or negative consequences if you do or don’t do it.

B: Important, a ‘should do’. Mild consequences if you do or don’t do it.

C: Not so important, a ‘nice to do’. No consequences of doing it or not doing it.

D: Delegate to someone else.

E: Eliminate altogether.

“To think too long about doing a thing often becomes its undoing” – Eva Young

If you have more than one task for each letter, prioritize these tasks by using A1, A2, A3 and so on, with A1 being your biggest, most important task of all.

The rules:

  • Be disciplined – stick with your A1 task until it is complete before moving on to your A2 task.
  • Never do a B task if you still have A tasks to do.
  • Delegate as many of the less important tasks as possible to free up time for the A tasks.
  • Act real-time – perhaps a task was once important but due to a change in circumstances is less important or no longer relevant.

For more support setting priorities and staying focused, feel free to drop me a line to explore how coaching can help.

“A year from now you may wish you had started today” – Karen Lamb

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