One of the most helpful ways for you to organize your tasks by priority is for you to use the ABCDE Method. This requires that you review your list of daily activities before you begin. You then place one of these letters in front of each activity. Organize your tasks in terms of potential consequences.

Your “A” List

An “A” task is something that you must do. It is very important. There are serious consequences for not doing it. Place an “A” next to every item on your work list that is urgent and important, and which has serious consequences for completion or non-completion.

If you have several “A” tasks, organize them by importance by putting “A-1, A-2, A-3, and so on next to each item. When you begin work, you always start on your A-1 task. This is your top priority.

Your “B” List

A “B” task is something that you should do. There are mild consequences for doing it or not doing it. The rule is that you should never do a “B” task when there is an “A” task left undone. A “B” task may be getting back to a coworker with the answer to a question, or replying to correspondence.

The rule is that you never work on a “B” task when there is an “A” task still not done. Working on your “A” list is the key to high productivity and maximum performance.

Your “C” List

The letter “C” stands for things that would be nice to do, but they are definitely not as important as “A” or “B” tasks. There are no consequences

for doing them or not doing them. Reading the paper or going out for lunch fall neatly into the “C” category.

Delegate Everything Possible

The letter “D” stands for delegate. Before you do anything, you should ask if there is someone else to whom you can delegate this task to free up more time for the most important tasks that only you can do.

Eliminate Everything Possible

The letter “E” stands for eliminate. There are many little tasks that creep onto your daily list that you can eliminate altogether and it would make no difference at all to you or to anyone else. The rule is that you can only get control over your time to the degree to which you stop doing things of low or no value. The more things you stop doing or eliminate altogether, the more time you will have to work on your “A” tasks, the tasks that determine your success or failure at work.