The Reverse ABCDE Method is my method of prioritizing my to- do list. If you have a big to-do list and you feel overwhelmed because you don’t know exactly what to work on next, this method can be a game changer!
The real reason why overwhelm happens
If you are overwhelmed or stuck, you may know that the real reason why it happens is because you don’t know what to do and when to do it. Add a sprinkle of your imagination to that and be sure that ‘molehill’ will look like a ’ mountain’! And why wouldn’t you be afraid to even think about it!
The real reason why overwhelm happens is because we don’t know what we are up against. We have all these things crammed into our brain, but our brains aren’t designed to hold information. Your brain isn’t for making lists and for sure it can’t sort that list into priorities at all.
Your brain is for thinking. It can give you ideas, protect you from harm and help you in decision making, so that is what you need to be doing.
If you want to beat overwhelm, make a list.
You have all these things to do, you say. But what things? Describe them. Be specific how many things are really there for you to do?
It is no use keeping them all in your head. Don’t stress … just get it all out and make a list.
Making a list is as simple as just writing down everything you have to do. Whether it is clearing clutter in your home, cleaning the kitchen, groceries to get, a project you’re working on… whatever it is, a list is a no-fail method to stop overwhelm from showing up.
But you need to know where to begin with your list because a list is only good if it gets done. What good is a list that is just sitting there waiting for you to do it?. A list should be able to move you to productivity. It must help you get things done.
Getting things done is an art.
Now, if you know me, you know that I love reading books about getting things done. Most books will teach you is how to make lists and that you should ‘Eat that Frog’ or have a routine and time-block stuff… yes, you can do all of that. Those are some smart things to do, but what you need to know is how to pick what to do first and get that done.
Often, overwhelm happens because you have picked things in the wrong order. What if one of the things you wanted to do was make a craft table for your room but you had a family to feed, kids to pick up and supplies to get first?.
The art of getting things done is to focus on one thing but knowing what that one thing is first. Then, to know when to move on to the next item on your list. So, here is what I recommend you do.
The Reverse ABCDE Method.
I am a big fan of Brian Tracy and Eat That Frog, as well as David Allen’s Get Things Done. Using both these techniques, years ago, I came up with this method of creating a To-Do list that tells me exactly what to do first and how to move down the list of my things fast.
Here’s how to go about it step by step:
1. First create that to-do list.
Just get a piece of paper and start writing whatever comes to your mind.
2. Start with E.
Then start by looking at what you can eliminate from that list. That’s your E. What is it that you can just strike off. Do it.
3. Your D list
Next, look at what you can delegate. That’s your D. On your list, in front of everything that you can delegate to someone else, write D.
4. Your C list
Then look at things that can be classified as not urgent or things you feel can be pushed to a later date. Write C in front of them, but be sure to give them a deadline as well.
5. Your B list
Next, find your must do list of things. These things take time and are important, and you have to get them done however you can. Write B in front of them and put a time in front of each of them so you know when to do them
6. Your A list
Lastly, you have your A jobs. Urgent, important things and stuff you have to do ASAP. Mark them with an A and look at what can be done in 5 minutes or less and get started on those first.This, my dear friends, is how to prioritize your to-do list to get things done in order of priority. I hope this Reverse ABCDE method helps you get yourself out of overwhelm.
Download the Make It Easy Planner Sheets
Want an easier way to use the Reverse ABCDE method? Download the Make It Easy Planner.
These are the sheets that I print and use to make my home life easy. Scroll down to find teh form on this page and fill in your email address. I will send the planner to you by email.