We live in a world of ever-increasing complexity. Every single day, you’re bombarded with decisions to make, chores to do, and tasks to prioritize—and most people fail miserably at this.
They choose to check their Facebook likes instead of finishing that business proposal, they choose to post a picture on Instagram instead of researching the signs of a toxic relationship, and they choose to watch Netflix above all else.
Most people are massive failures in life, but what if I told you it’s easy to be successful. Would you believe me? What if I told you that after reading this article, you can literally get TWICE as much done, in HALF the time?
Funny enough, I didn’t believe this when I first heard it, but after applying Brian Tracy’s “Focal Point” techniques into my life, I was absolutely amazed at how much I could get done, with literally half the effort.
Have you ever heard that story about the broken down nuclear power plant? The story goes that a power plant had broken down, and was losing millions of dollars in revenue—so they called in an expert.
He came in, looked around at the plant for a couple hours, pulled a single lever, then left. All seemed well until the bill came in—a bill worth $10,000. The manager was furious and immediately gave him a call.
“You’re charging me $10,000 for pulling a fucking lever? Who the hell do you think you are?” he said. “It’s only $1 for pulling the lever,” the expert said. “The other $9,999 is for knowing which lever to pull.”
This story illustrates the power of not just using brute force, but simply applying a little bit of force in the EXACT right way. Keeping this in mind, ask yourself a serious question—where’s your lever?
Keeping this story in mind, where’s your focal point? What’s your one thing that if you put all of your effort towards improving, everything else would become completely irrelevant?
This is similar to applying the Pareto Principle to your life. I guarantee that right now you’re wasting time on the 80% of things that DON’T matter—doing administrative work, dealing with annoying clients, or some other bullshit.
What you should be doing though, is just achieving 2-3 highly effective goals each day. As strange as this may sound, using the ABCDE method you can easily double or triple your productivity, in half the time.
I know it’s hard to believe, because I didn’t believe it either at first. I thought you had to work 24/7 in order to really get shit done, and while there is a time for that, it certainly isn’t necessary.
For the ABCDE method, or the “Focal Point Method,” you’re going to write out a list of everything you need to get done. Going to the gym, buying groceries, paying your bills, calling back your friend, whatever it is just write it down.
Then, you’re going to put a letter next to each one of these tasks depending on which category they fall into. If there are multiple tasks within the “A” category, simply label them “A1, A2, A3” and so on.
A tasks are the most important and should be done first before anything else. Then, B tasks may be completed, then C, then D, and then finally E. The goal is to focus on the most effective tasks to get more done in less time.
Using this method, you’ll start to realize how shockingly unimportant a lot of your supposed “goals” really are. Many of them are likely unimportant and will cause no consequences if you don’t do them.
“An ‘A’ task is something that is important. It is something you must do. It is something for which there are significant consequences if you do it or fail to do it.” -Brian Tracy
While A tasks are typically few and far between, they will account for a huge amount of your results. These are the upper echelon of tasks that will account for most of your success—things like starting a new advertising campaign, automating your investment schedule, and/or contacting a new high value client.
It never astonishes me how easy it is to accomplish your goals when you work smart. Of course there’s times where hustling and grinding is important, but overall it’s not that hard to get twice as much done with half of the effort. You just have to work smart.
I’ve seen my income literally jump by 500% just from grabbing lunch with someone and getting a crucial piece of advice, or networking with the right people and meeting a potential investor for my business plans. You should aim to accomplish at least one A task a day.
“A ‘B’ task is something that you should do. There are consequences if it is done or not done, but it is not as important as an ‘A’ task. Never work on a ‘B’ task when there is an ‘A’ task left undone. Refuse to work on a lower priority when there is a higher priority waiting.” -Brian Tracy
While A tasks will certainly account for most of your productivity, B tasks are still important. They aren’t going to have the same “bang for buck” as an A task, but getting them done is still beneficial, and is relatively painless.
B tasks would be things like hitting the gym, counting your calories for the day, writing a business proposal that’s due tomorrow, and/or writing an article to publish on your blog. They’re things that you should do, but it’s not the biggest deal in the world if you have to postpone them for a day or two.
“A ‘C’ task is something that would be nice to do but has no consequences at all. For example, reading the paper, going for coffee with a coworker, or calling home to see what’s for dinner.” -Brian Tracy
Beyond B tasks, everything else is just nice to do—but not necessary. C tasks are sort of like those little things you put into your life for enjoyment and pleasure, or that will make things easier. This would be things like reading the next chapter in a book, going on vacation this year, or responding to an email you’ve been meaning to respond to.
While C tasks aren’t necessarily that important, they serve a vital purpose: they help you relax and recuperate. For me, C tasks would be things like playing some video games, grabbing dinner with a friend, going to see a concert, or reading for pleasure before I go to bed. They’re not necessary, just nice.
“A ‘D’ task is anything you can delegate to someone else. The rule is that you should delegate everything that can possibly be done by someone else so that you can free more time to do the few things only you can do.” -Brian Tracy
If you’ve ever read the “4 Hour Workweek” by Tim Ferris, you’ll know that a key concept for modern entrepreneurs is outsourcing everything. You want to free up as much time as possible so that you can focus on the 20% of tasks which have a high impact (A tasks).
When I learned to simply delegate tasks, my income shot up like a firework. Rather than spending 30 hours and learning how to do perfect graphic design, I just pay a designer $50 to create a logo or an advertisement. Rather than sending emails to my thousands of subscribers manually, I just pay $49 a month for a machine to do it.
Learning to delegate tasks that are unimportant will do wonders for freeing up your time, which will in turn allow you to accomplish more A and B tasks. This will then create more success in your life, which will free up even MORE free time. This is known as the “Upward Spiral Effect“, and it’s why the rich get richer.
“An ‘E’ task is something you can eliminate altogether. Doing it or not doing it has no consequences at all. It is something that may have been important in the past but that you can discontinue today with no real effect on your job or your future.” -Brian Tracy
Getting rid of E tasks will also save you an enormous amount of time. Far too many people waste HOURS on stupid little tasks that contribute virtually nothing to their success and happiness. There’s a few big time-wasting tasks you should watch out for, though—namely email, social media, and your smart phone.
Stop checking email fifty times a day. Instead, just check it once a day (or even less). Learn to eliminate tasks that are unnecessary, where you’re just spinning your wheels and wasting valuable brain juice, energy, and time on something that isn’t contributing anything to your success.
I realize that the “double your results in half the time” claim is pretty hard to believe, but trust me—after just a couple weeks of applying this method, you’ll be shocked at how much you can accomplish. That old saying that you should “work smarter, not harder” is absolutely true.
The REAL magic happens when you learn to do both, though. Rather than just “working smart” or “working hard” learn to combine both. Don’t just plow away at any task that presents itself, but rather spend a few minutes to just prioritize them using the ABCDE method and watch your life transform.
This ABCDE method was made popular by Brian Tracy, author of Focal Point. If you haven’t ready the book I highly recommend you check it out, because there’s a ton of other productivity secrets in there that have changed my life. I cannot recommend it enough.
I hope you guys enjoyed the article, and I hope even more that you actually apply this methodology to change your life. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, feel free to let me know—and as always, I’ll see you next time.
Jon Anthony is a dating coach, fitness expert, and self-improvement guru. He dropped out of college to start Masculine Development in 2015, and has since been self-employed, helping men across the world achieve their best lives. You can best reach him on social media, or via email for questions.