Ever have a day, week or month where you just can’t seem to get anything done? It can feel like important tasks are slipping through the cracks, and you can’t possibly keep track of everything you have to do. This is especially true during the holidays when personal obligations are encroaching on your end-of-the-year work obligations. Often times, all you need to do to address this situation is a little bit of organizing. Here is an easy-to-use strategy that we call the “ABC’s of Organization” that can help you prioritize tasks.
This strategy takes the to-do list approach one step further. Rather than create a never-ending list on a sheet of paper, the ABC Strategy declutters your list so that it looks less daunting and more doable. Write your tasks on Post-Its with one task per sticky note, making it easier to move them around. Then, categorize the tasks into three sections: A, B, and C. It also may help to use three different colors of Post-Its, especially if you are a visual learner.
Category A Organization
Place all the tasks that are absolutely critical in this first organization category. These are generally time-sensitive tasks that you need to finish by the end of the day. Once you finish categorizing section A, these items are your Top Priority. Determining your Top Priority items quickly is crucial, because it often dictates how you divide your time.
Category B Organization
Place all the tasks that are important, but less time-sensitive, in this second category. Think of duties that have a definite deadline but that you don’t need to finish immediately. These can be tasks that you want to complete by the end of the week or month. When you finish listing tasks for section B, these items comprise your Mild Priority list. Having your Mild Priority items physically squared away will give you the preparedness and foresight to accomplish them in a timely manner without distracting you from the Top Priority items.
Category C Organization
Place all the tasks that can be postponed, ignored or avoided completely in this final category. The visual indication of low-priority tasks will give you permission to procrastinate. Once you finish your C list, these are your Don’t Do items. By giving yourself permission to not do particular tasks, you can focus on the other items without worrying about everything you still need to do. Once you take care of your more pressing tasks, you can eventually move C items into the A and B sections.
Both your professional and personal life can improve from using this ABC Strategy. Use this strategy for a variety of to do’s from telephone calls to chores, projects and anything else you need to prioritize.