The Power of ABCDE

They are not JUST the first five letters in the alphabet.

It was the first working day of the year 2015 when Schools Division Superintendent Eddie Oplenaria introduced the method to the members of the Executive Committee. The opening line he quoted from Alex MacKenzie states that “The key to successful time management is doing the most important task first, and giving it your full concentration, to the exclusion of everything else.”

ABCDE is a method of time management formulated by Tracy and Chee in their book The Discipline of Concentration. The key point is to determine what to do first, what to do next and to determine what we don’t do at all. Accordingly, we are always free to choose the sequence of events and in choosing the sequence of events, we choose much of what matters to us in life.

Benjamin Tregoe once said “The very worst use of time is to do very well what need not be done at all.” Sometimes, we put so much time and mastery to the tasks that need not be done at all. As public servants, we need to determine what is important to us that entail significant potential consequences. Likewise, we ought to determine what are the unimportant ones to the point that it has minimal or no consequences at all.

The letter “A” in the ABCDE method stands for tasks that is something we must do. These are the tasks with high potential consequences for doing or not doing. It is an act or omission that entails high consequences such as loss of life, liberty, career or income.

“B” in the ABCDE method stands for tasks that we should do whenever we are caught up with our “A” task. They have mild consequences for doing or not doing but are something that we should do next whenever we are occupied with our “A” task.

“C” tasks are something that would be nice to do but which has no consequences at all. The “C” tasks would not make any difference to our organization or career whether we do it or not.

“D” tasks are activities that we can delegate to someone else. These are the tasks that we are comfortable doing and have been doing on routine. However, there are tasks that we should let go in order to free our schedule and at the same time share our knowledge and skill to someone else. Those tasks that can be delegated with supervision from minimum to none should be placed here. In doing so, we will have more time to do the things that have high consequences.

“E” tasks are the activities that should be eliminated altogether. It may have had some value in the past but have become unimportant now. It may be fun and easy, but it is largely a waste of time. These are the tasks that do not contribute to our personal and career growth.

The ABCDE method of time management will aid the employees in organizing their tasks. Likewise, there is constant self-check whether the activities that we do within the day or week is aligned with the objectives of the strategic plan of the Division of Malaybalay City.

– Sibyl L. Maputi