A Prioritization Method That Will Change Your Life
As you take on more challenges in life - naturally, you'll find yourself encountering a growing workload and an abundance of tasks to tackle.
Things need to get done, and when tasks begin piling up - it can become overwhelming. You might not know where to start. You might complete half of one thing, then jump onto another task, and then another, and then another.
It's in these moments, where there's 100 things you need to do - that prioritization becomes a skill worth mastering.
One of my biggest strengths has always been how I organize my time, and prioritize things.
In today's blog I'm going to share with you a very effective way to prioritize your workload when things get busy, and when you might get overwhelmed.
Basic Prioritization - Table-stakes:
Most people use a simple to-do list.
As things come up, they write them down digitally or in a notepad - and keep track of what they need to do.
They know the 'what', behind what needs to get done.
This is a good first-step, and is far better than not writing down anything at all and relying purely on your memory - however, it lacks one key component worth considering.
It lacks identifying the 'value' and 'urgency' behind certain tasks.
Not all tasks are built the same - some will be worth more than others, and some will have certain deadlines that must be met.
If we relied purely on a to-do list, that has no rhyme or reason to what's important, whats not important, what's due today, and what's due 3 months from now - we won't allocate our time effectively.
The Best Way To Prioritize Tasks - The 'ABCD' Method:
The best way to prioritize your tasks is by using the ABCD method.
This is a way of putting your tasks into 4 distinct buckets, based off of their importance and urgency.
First let's begin by defining each bucket of tasks.
A-Tasks (Important + Urgent):
A-tasks are your top priorities.
They are both important (valuable), and urgent (need to be done soon).
These should be at the top of your to-do list and should be prioritized above all other tasks.
They are the tasks in which there will be serious upside towards completing them, significant consequences if you don't complete them, as well as a deadline that is soon approaching.
Some examples may include:
Working towards your goals.
Applying for your dream job.
Paying your bills.
The goal should always be to complete all of your A-tasks by end of day.
B-Tasks (Important + Not Urgent):
B-tasks are second in priority.
They are important (valuable) but not necessarily urgent.
Once your A-tasks are completed, you should shift your focus to your B-tasks.
These are the tasks that will be valuable for you to complete, but will have less pressure on you to getting them completed as soon as possible. They need to get done, and they are important - but the repercussions won't be big if they aren't done today.
Some examples may include:
The more B-tasks you can get completed the better.
C-Tasks (Not Important + Urgent):
C-tasks are not important (low-value), but are urgent.
Think of things that have a tight deadline, but are almost optional and won't cost you a lot if they aren't completed.
These tasks should be of much lower priority, and are worked on only if you've completed all of your A-tasks and B-tasks.
Some examples include:
Playing video games with your friends tonight.
Going to a bar tonight.
Watching a celebrity go on instagram live tonight.
These are all tasks that won't necessarily 'give' you a lot of value by doing them, and won't necessarily 'cost' you a lot by not doing them - generally speaking. However, they each do have deadlines and have some urgency to them, if they are to be completed.
As you can begin to see, when you prioritize things this way - naturally you begin to make decisions in a way that will naturally improve your life.
"Before I go out to the bar tonight, I need to work towards my dreams, and work-out."
"Before I play video games with my friends tonight, I should apply for my dream job, and read 10 pages of a great book."
This is how you begin to get your priorities straight.
D-Tasks (Not Important + Not Urgent):
Lastly, there are D-tasks.
D-tasks are not important and not urgent - the lowest of priorities.
They don't have much value towards completing them, and also don't have urgency to them either. You should avoid these at all costs, as these should be on the lowest of your priorities.
Some examples include:
Fighting with loved-ones.
Engaging in negativity.
Doing things that you know are bad for you.
This might sound strange, as something on your to-do list - but the truth is, things arise in life and you have to make decisions at certain points. Should I engage in x, or should I engage in y?
You'd be amazed at how often people engage in D-tasks over A-tasks. It costs them the same amount of energy to engage in either one, but the pay-off of A-tasks is tremendous, and the opportunity costs of D-tasks are very expensive on your life.
These are all things you shouldn't even be doing. They are on the lowest of your priority list, and are things you shouldn't even be doing - since you should be more busy doing tasks of higher importance (working towards your dreams, improving yourself, spending time with loved ones, etc).
How This Transforms Your Life:
So what happens when you begin to bucket your tasks into A's, B's, C's, and D's?
You naturally trigger an 'upward spiral' in your life - in which you begin making the right decisions, allocating your time/effort/energy in the right places, that overtime - begins to spiral you upwards.
You begin to progress in your career, and towards your dreams.
You begin to achieve the physical health you've always wanted.
You're happier than you've ever been, and your relationships are thriving.
This all comes from allocating more time into A-tasks, and B-tasks, before you put any-time into C-tasks or D-tasks. As a matter of fact, you shouldn't be putting ANY time into D-tasks.
You should be so obsessed with completing as many A's and B's that you can - because the results will be so damn worth it.
My Challenge To You:
My challenge to you is this - write down all of the things you can or need to do tomorrow.
Organize them into the four Buckets:
A Tasks (important & urgent)
B Tasks (important & not urgent)
C Tasks (not important & urgent)
D Tasks (not important & not urgent)
Commit yourself to completing as many A-tasks and B-tasks as possible, before you touch a C-task. Avoid D-tasks at all costs.
Prioritization is the the path to your dreams!
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