ABCDE Method: How To Set Priorities Right

Author: Karolina Matyska

Time is the most precious thing we have in our life. With that, we can accomplish whatever we want, on a personal or a professional level. We want to help you make the most out of it using the ABCDE prioritization method.

But the act of managing time it’s almost an art because it comes with its challenges. Unfortunately, we can’t be everywhere, doing everything and with everyone.

That’s where the magic of prioritization enters because it gives us the power to sort through important tasks.

Although we’re born multitaskers, there’s so much we can handle. The pressure behind accomplishing personal and professional tasks can take its toll. To help you sort out all of this complex concept of time management, there’s the ABCDE Method

Start tracking your time to maximize your productivity

Through this interesting ABCDE Method, you’ll be finally able to juggle it all. You’ll have a clear view of the priorities you need to attend to and what you should delegate or even eliminate.

Read the article below and find out everything about the ABCDE method, how it works and what the benefits are.

You’ll also be able to discover the best tips about it and what to avoid while applying this method to your life.

What’s the ABCDE method?

The ABCDE method is a prioritization technique used for time management and decision-making. It involves assigning tasks to five groups, based on their urgency and importance:

  • categories A (high importance, high urgency),
  • B (medium importance, medium urgency),
  • C (low importance, high urgency),
  • D (low importance, low urgency),
  • E (eliminate or delegate).

The ABCDE method helps individuals prioritize tasks, focus on high-priority tasks first and work efficiently.

How does the ABCDE method work?

The ABCDE Method it’s a very easy concept to grasp, and it will transform your life. First, you must list all of the personal and professional tasks you have to follow up on.  

With everything listed, you must attribute each task to each letter of the ABCDE Method. Here’s how you know what belongs to each letter:

A: stands for “Very important tasks”

While in this category, these tasks are essential to take care of.

If you fail to close these, you’ll have severe consequences. Included are, for example, payments with expiration dates or parcels that need to be delivered on a specific day.

B: stands for “Less important tasks”

In this category, you need to be aware that it’s important to carry out these tasks, but not right away. This means you have time to plan your day or week, including these tasks when you have free time.

For example, you can explore your availability to meet a colleague to talk about some important job topics.

C: stands for “Nice tasks to do”

There’s no pressure for this category to perform in a certain way. These should be things that give you pleasure to do.

You must always find time to balance leisure with your professional side, and you mustn’t focus only on your job.

So, also in your free time, you can plan to have lunch or dinner with a friend and even organize a little soirée with your family.

D: stands for “Tasks to delegate”

In your life, there are always tasks that you don’t necessarily have to do yourself exclusively.

With that in mind, you’re able to delegate that task to someone, so you can focus on the ones that are very important for you to do.

That alone gives you space to scratch from the list the tasks that were imperative to pay attention to.

Delegating is a great tip to improve time management. Other techniques suggest this such as the 4 D’s of time management.

E: stands for “Tasks you can eliminate”

Normally the tasks in this category are irrelevant and not worth spending so much time on them. By arriving at that conclusion, these tasks are easily removable.

For example, your daily trips to the supermarket could turn into twice-a-week trips. Instead of buying small items daily, you can put a list together and bring home a more composed shopping basket.

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3 Benefits of the ABCDE prioritization technique

1. Accomplishing the most important tasks

While you embrace your life with the help of the ABCDE Method, you’ll quickly discover that your focus on the important tasks is sharper than ever.

Before, you would scramble your priorities due to many internal and external factors that are out of your control. But now, through this method, you’ll keep your priorities straight.

2. Clear your mind by prioritizing tasks

With the rush of life’s normal and chaotic routine, it’s difficult to concentrate on every task or even to take it to the end in an accomplished fashion.

With the power of the ABCDE Method, this structured and improved to-do list of priorities will help you clear your mind.

You can transcribe all the mental task organization you had into something with substance to guide you in your priorities.

3. Time spent on valuable activities

Through this ABCDE approach, your priorities will be more accurately determined, making you feel different.

This transformation will grant you a great sense of accomplishment, leading to better self-esteem and pride.

Learn to accept that you can be successful when you can handle your priorities differently.

abcde prioritization

The best tips for the best usage of the ABCDE Method

1. Readapt your mind to the method

As human beings struggle to get things done daily, our minds automatically find the easiest tasks to finish.

It’s your mind playing tricks on you, trying to give you a false sense of productivity. To fight that, you must forcefully think about the most important and difficult tasks to stay true to your method.

2. Don’t do anything that’s not on your list

Although you create your to-do list within the ABCDE Method, the world keeps spinning, and new tasks naturally approach you.

You must fight the urge to treat those new tasks as a priority because you already sorted yours. 

3. Practice the method

Make sure to practice this method to incorporate it perfectly into your life.

Don’t deviate from your priorities, and schedule a time when you can evaluate them carefully. Remember, practice makes perfect.

4. Go to the B tasks only after finalizing the A ones

Once you adventured on the ABCDE Method, you’ll feel automatically fulfilled after finishing some of the A tasks. But don’t be fooled.

Just because you finished some of the most difficult tasks doesn’t mean you can start doing the B, C, D or E tasks.

Make sure you finalize every single one of the A tasks, and then you can carry out the next ones.

Identify and eliminate the tasks that are wasting your time

The main mistakes to avoid as a beginner on the ABCDE method

1. Paying attention to outside demands of your priorities

With your priorities straight with the help of the ABCDE Method, it’s a mistake to dwell on outside demands.

If it’s not part of your improved to-do list, you shouldn’t give it another thought.

2. If you rely on the false sense of productivity from the easiest tasks

Since it’s your responsibility to sort your priorities within this method, it’s easy to sometimes look the other way and execute the easiest tasks. Make sure to focus on the most important ones.

3. If you fail to invest your time in prioritizing

To manage your precious time, you need to invest in prioritizing your actions.

Don’t think you’re wasting your time. Make sure you evaluate the best way to prioritize. 

4. If you fail to see the bigger picture

To understand the importance of the ABCDE Method, you must foresee the impact of some of the important priorities in a long-term manner.

The consequences can be irreversible and sometimes catastrophic, so it’s important to consider everything.

5. If you get distracted

It’s easy to get distracted by time wasters and the little things in your life or simply get caught up in your routine. You must fight every distraction so you can focus on your tasks.

6. If you don’t delegate the D tasks

As we stated before, the D tasks are the ones that you can delegate to others.

Never underestimate the power of delegating those tasks because it can be a huge relief. In that way, you can focus on what’s important.


With the end of this article, there’s no greater material to start a deep reflection on the prioritization of life.

The ABCDE Method enters the conversation to help you with the struggle that happens with tasks of everyday life.

This is your opportunity to finally let go of the anxiety of what to do first. Because with this method, you’re able to have a structured to-do list with the degree of prioritization it needs.

If you think this method isn’t the best for you, you can read also: the RICE prioritization method, MoSCoW prioritization method, and RPM – Rapid Planning Method.

Find the method that works for you and you’ll see that it’s going to be much easier to manage your workload.