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Inspiring Thoughts from EAC

Find Focus Using ABC’s

By: Cynthia May, MA, LLP, EAC Clinical Specialist —

Feeling unsettled lately?

Our comfort zone and sense of “normal” daily structure has been disrupted now by months of various changing restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic and observable racial injustices of our policing & court systems.  We watch many grassroots protests with emotional consequences.  Trying to hold our focus on our own daily expectations can get interrupted often, and this may lead to forgetting what we were doing. As a result, we tend to finish the easiest tasks first, only to remember at the end of the day, that, shucks, we missed the most important one… again.

Let me offer a simple, yet effective, method to complete all of those most important tasks of the day, so at the end of the day, there’s a sigh of relief, instead of ruminating in self-criticism.

It’s the ABC List.

All the materials that you’ll need are a small notebook, a pad of paper or a dated planner, and a pencil.

Here’s how it works:

  • Make a list of all the activities that you need to complete. Be sure to include time for yourself, like going for a walk. And don’t forget lunch. If you’re employed, have a list for work tasks that day, especially if you’re working from home. Working from home presents way too many tasks to complete – right in your line of vision.


    Examples of home tasks are: pay bills, go grocery shopping, attend virtual telemedicine appointment, do laundry, mow lawn, take out trash, deposit check, make/eat lunch, make dinner, check emails, time to chill, etc.

  • Make the list one line at a time – like a shopping list.
  • In front of each item, decide its priority using this rating system:

    A= Absolutely necessary
    B= Would BE Nice if it gets done
    C= SEE, it’s on the list!

    Example:
    A   deposit paycheck (need $ in bank account today)C    laundry (have enough clean clothes for 2 days)
    B    go grocery shopping
      mow lawn
    A   make dinner/buy dinner
    B   pay bills
    A   lunch before doc appointment
    …etc.

Now – your job is to work your “A’s” off.  You can plan the timing of what order to do them, however A’s are ABSOLUTELY essential to complete. No bargaining.  Don’t get sidetracked by doing the B’s first and especially those C’s.  That’s exactly how we have been sabotaging ourselves.   *Note – You certainly can complete the B’s if you have the time – after making sure the A’s are completed first.  ABC method makes it very easy.

The next day, make your new ABC list.  Don’t worry, today’s B’s will become tomorrow’s A’s.  C’s will become B’s.  You can see your priorities develop themselves every single day IF you stay honest about their level of importance. Too many A’s that day?  Well, if there are others who live with you, share/delegate/offer/divide the A’s to them too.  Warning – they must really understand the meaning of ABC!

Simplify effectiveness. Create an easier life for yourself, as you lift self-esteem and sleep well.

How does this method work for you?  Post your response below!

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