ABC Time Management Method: What is it and 5 Steps How To Start Using it

Organizing one’s day typically comes down to determining what is truly important and what can be put off until another time. As simplified as that may sound, it also happens to be true. People don’t always realize just how much of their day can be broken into easier-to-manage chunks that they can take care of. The ABC time management method can help them visualize this more easily.


What is the ABC 123 method?

The shortest and easiest way to explain the ABC time management method is to say that it stacks tasks from least important to most important.

It helps you spell everything out in a way that makes it easier for you to determine what needs to be done. Put simply, it is a great way for you to figure out where your energy needs to go and where it is currently being used. 


Who invented the ABC method of time management?

Alan Lakein is credited as being the first person to have come up with the ABC method of time management. He saw that there was something missing in the other time management methods that people were using, and he decided that he would take a chance at constructing one himself.


Why is the ABC time management method important?

The ABC method helps you accomplish the tasks that are truly the most important in your life. It makes it possible for you to truly visualize which tasks matter to your day, and which tasks are not going to do as much for helping you get where you need to go.

ABC time management methods letters painted on man face

Instead of spinning your wheels and taking care of things that can best be put off for another day, you are taking on the big tasks that really matter so you can free up more of your time to do other things that are also important but not as pressing. 

One of the things that people who start to use the ABC time management method often say is that it helps them almost immediately. They realize that they have been wasting a lot of time on things that don’t truly matter to them as much, and they aren’t putting their attention on the things that bring them peace and joy.

Thus, it makes sense that they promote the idea of ABC time management to everyone who will listen. They have seen the power of what it does in their life, and they want to share that experience with other people so that those people may also understand what it means to get involved in something so life-changing. 

You might not think that something like a new time management strategy could do so much for your life, but it truly can. When using the ABC time management method, you can transform the way that you get things done in your day. 


When should you use the ABC time management method?

People want to know what is so special about the ABC time management method after all. They question if there is anything truly magical about it. Why is it that some people swear by it? That is a fair question. It is because of just how simple the ABC method is. Even the name of the method is meant to convey a sense of ease. It is as easy as ABC! 

You should consider using the ABC method because: 

  • Time management is important to everyone’s life
  • You can start to organize your day in a way that opens up more free time to spend with loved ones
  • You may be able to accomplish more than you ever imagined possible

Essentially, this method simplifies your day and breaks it into more manageable chunks so you aren’t always stressing about how you will get everything done.

to do list on paper

You will see the most important aspects of your day, and you will take the action steps that you need to take in order to make them happen. Instead of letting each day overwhelm you, you can simply act decisively to make sure you get the results that you need from your new productivity method.


What does A mean in the ABC time management method?

“A” tasks are the most important tasks on the agenda. These are the tasks that you need to take care of right away as soon as you can. They are also the types of tasks that you likely feel in your gut you need to get to right now. You will know for sure that these are the type of tasks that can’t wait. 


What does B mean in the ABC time management method?

The “B” letter tasks are still important on your list, but they don’t matter quite as much as the “A” tasks. You still feel some obligation to get the “B” tasks taken care of, but you also know that they can be put off for some time until you are able to comfortably handle them. 


What does C mean in the ABC time management method? 

“C” tasks are the least important tasks on your list. They may still matter to you to some extent, but you know that they are not time-sensitive, and that means that you don’t have to spend as much time or energy getting these knocked out. It would be nice to have them knocked out, but don’t stress yourself out if it doesn’t happen. 


5 easy steps to start using the ABC method of time management

It is always challenging to get started with a new time management method. You may think that you can just pick it up and go, but that is rarely how it works out in real life. Instead, it is going to be a slog, and you already know it.

That said, we have some tips for you on how you can get a fast start into the ABC method of time management, so you don’t have to keep stressing yourself out. 


Step 1: Brainstorm What Needs To Get Done

Create a list of all of the things that you need to get done and think through how you would like to make each one happen. You don’t have to be perfect at this, but you should make a legitimate effort to try to come up with ways that you can be productive using the ABC method. As you work your way through it all, you will see how much there is to do on your agenda, but you will also start to get some idea about which things need to be done first.


Step 2: Estimate How Long Each Task Will Take

Figure out to the best of your ability how long you anticipate each task will take. The purpose of this is to make sure you can categorize your tasks into their proper categories. You certainly do not want to overextend yourself, but you also need to be sure that you are putting each task in its place so that you can rest easy knowing that everything is in line with your goals and agenda. It will save you time when you actually sketch out each item on your list and get it set up for your ABC time management strategy. 


Step 3: Rank Your Items By Their Priority

Create your initial list of priorities by ranking each item as to how important it is to you to get accomplished. This ranking, along with the estimated time that you believe each task will take, are two great indicators of where your various tasks will go within your ABC strategy. You should take this step very seriously as it is important that you get it set up just right. 


Step 4: Take Some Items Off The List

That’s right, you should take some items off the list once you have created it. The reason for this is simply because you don’t want to overwhelm yourself with too many tasks. You may have a lot of momentum when you first set it up, but that can dissolve over time. Make sure you set your list up in such a way that you can actually get some things done. 


Step 5: Look Over Your List One More Time

Double-check that everything has been put in its proper place, and then set out to get it accomplished! 


Bonus Tips:

Let Others Know That You Are Using This Method

You should let your loved ones and those closest to you know that you are trying out the ABC method so they can keep you accountable and hold you to your word when you start out on your new productivity journey. 


Give Yourself Some Time To Experiment With It

You should try to allow yourself the time and space that you require to experiment with your newfound time management system. There is no guarantee that you will get it right the first time, but as long as you stick with it, good things will likely happen. 

There is a method known as the time management matrix, but it is just one among many, and few have had as much success as those who have tried this one. You should give it a try for yourself and see how a simple method like this can work out for you too. 

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