In this fast paced world we constantly have more and more demands placed on our time. And it seems the closer we get to our goals, the more and more things we have to get done each day.

With only so many hours in the day it is impossible to get everything done. Naturally, we want to get the little things out of the way first so that we feel like we’re achieving something.

The problem is…

The tasks that can be quickly completed are not the things which will improve our lives. Generally, the more difficult tasks (the tasks we keep putting off ‘till we get all of the little tasks out of the way) may take a full day, a week or even a month to complete.

When I first started my own business I remember having a to-do list similar to the list below:

- Check mail
- Pay phone bill
- Call John re: property
- Read ‘selling for dummies’
- Get haircut
- Get car serviced
- Etc.

My to-do list was usually much longer than this, but it gives you an idea of the tasks listed. Now in my mind I thought that getting all the ‘easy’ tasks completed meant that I was achieving something. It felt good to get things done!

Unfortunately, even though I was getting things done every day the list kept growing more and more… and I wasn’t actually achieving anything. I was just really busy.

I was driving in my car one day listening to audio education when I heard about the ABCDE method of prioritization (a time management technique).

I instantly understood the power of this technique, implemented it immediately and have tried my best to follow it every single day of my life.


Here is how it works…

Select your most valuable task and work on that task until it is complete. And then work on the next most valuable task…

The way that you determine your highest priority at any moment is to think about the potential consequences of doing or not doing a particular task. A task that is important is something that can have major consequences if it is done of not done.

With the ABCDE method you make a list of everything that you have to do before you begin. You then go through the list carefully and put one of these letters next to each item on the list:

A – very important. This is something that you must do, something that has SERIOUS CONSEQUENCES for either doing it or not doing it.

B – something that you should do but that is not as important as an A item. There are consequences associated with doing it or not doing it but they are only MILD CONSEQUENCES that don’t last for very long.

C – something that would be nice to do but for which there are NO CONSEQUENCES at all for your career or your success.

The rule is that you should never do a B item when there is an A item left undone. You should never do a C item when there is a B item left undone. You must be very disciplined about this.

D – an item that you delegate or outsource to someone else who can do it pretty much as well as you. Delegate everything possible to free up enough time for you to concentrate on your A activities.

E – eliminate. These are items that are such low priority that you could eliminate them completely and it would make no difference at all. Sometimes the disciplined act of eliminating low value tasks can simplify your life and free up enough time for you to accomplish those tasks that have the greatest possible consequences for you.

Once you have applied the ABCDE formula to your list, go back over the list and organise your A tasks by priority, put an A1 next to your most important task, an A2 next to your second most important task and so on. Then begin immediately on your A1 task and discipline yourself to stay at it until it is finished.

This formula alone will double your productivity.

When I heard this the first time, I re-sorted my list and focused on the most important task until it was complete – reading the book ‘selling for dummies’.

And you know what?

It was the one of the hardest thing I had to do, because it felt like I wasn’t getting anything done.

The funny thing was that I achieved more in my life as a result of focusing on that one task than anything else I have ever done.


Because the most important things we keep holding off are the very things which will make the difference between success and failure (and are usually the most difficult and ‘scariest’ tasks of all).

I urge you to start using this formula every day for at least one month and let the results speak for themselves.

- Alex Cleanthous

Author's Bio: 

Alex Cleanthous makes it easy to achieve success in your personal, professional and business life. For a free mini-course on 'The 5 Essential Steps To Achieving Anything You Want' visit