This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "Eat That Frog!" by Brian Tracy. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.
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What is the ABCDE method from Brian Tracy’s Eat That Frog? How can using this method help you accomplish more?
The ABCDE method is a tool for prioritizing. On paper, list everything you have to do for the next day in order of importance. Make sure you complete all of the A’s before moving down the list.
Keep reading for instructions on how to use Tracy’s ABCDE method.
The ABCDE Method
You’ll get more and more-important things done faster if you effectively plan and set priorities. The ABCDE method is a tool for prioritizing. Here’s how it works. On paper, list everything you have to do for the next day. Next, rank each item by marking it with an A, B, C, D, or E, as follows:
A: Use an A to designate tasks that are very important. They are tasks that you must do—not doing them will have serious negative consequences. For instance, an “A” task might be something your boss directed you to do, or it could be visiting a top customer. If you have multiple tasks of this level, prioritize by marking them A-1, A-2, and so on.
B: Use this label for tasks that you should do, such as returning a non-critical call or email. These tasks have much less dire consequences than “A” tasks—for instance, someone may be unhappy if you don’t do it. These are tadpoles compared to the “A” list items, which are frogs. Never do a “B” task when there’s still an “A” task to do.
C: A “C” task is one that would be good to do, but it doesn’t much matter whether you do it or not. Examples include having lunch with a coworker or phoning a friend. These tasks don’t affect your work.
D: A “D” task is one you can delegate. You should delegate anything that someone else can do, so you can create time to do the tasks that only you can do, the consequential “A” tasks.
E: These are tasks you can eliminate. They include things that were important at one time but are no longer relevant, or unnecessary things that have become habits. Any time spent on one of these tasks is time diverted from an “A” task.
It’s important to discipline yourself to start on your A-1 task immediately and persevere to completion. By prioritizing your work and getting the important things done, you’ll accomplish more than several people’s efforts combined.
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Here's what you'll find in our full Eat That Frog! summary :
- What it means to eat a frog
- How your daily distractions get in the way of doing important work first
- How to make a habit of doing the most important thing first, every day