Step by, *prioritized*, Step…


ABC Alphabet Blocks (CC)

There is a time management tool that uses a simple A-B-C method of assigning priorities.  While it is intended primarily as a time management tool for the workplace it can easily be adapted for personal use.

You take everything on your “to do” list, including individual tasks or smaller projects associated with both long-term and short-term goals, then you divide all the individual tasks into three groups:

♦  Group “A” —  those items which are urgent, important, or BOTH
♦  Group “B” — those items which are important but which are not urgent.
♦  Group “C” — everything else, literally, everything that is not in group A or in group B.

Here are some examples of some typical workplace activities:

  • Group “A” — urgent, important or some combination thereof
    — mop up water from overflowed toilet in men’s room and put out “Wet Floor Sign”
    — time sheets due on Tuesday
    — grant application due on last day of this month
    — completed employee evaluations due to HR by 1st of next month.
  • Group “B” — important but not urgent
    — schedule repair of timer for automatic lawn sprinkler system
    — compare cost of owning copy machine versus leasing it
    — review security camera footage to see if theft of bicycle from front of building was caught on tape.
    — review and revise ordering and receiving procedures to streamline and make them more efficient.

Get the idea?

Now, here is the trick.  Once you have your “A” and “B” tasks identified, you’ll have a whole bunch of stuff that did not go into either pile.   That is your “C” pile.

  • Group “C” — everything else
    — read trade magazine
    — bring fabric cleaner from home so that next time I have a spill I can clean it up right away without leaving a stain.
    — color code the files in my office
    — throw away the dead plant in the corner of my office and buy an artificial one from Linens & Things
    — have the staff clean out the fridge in the break room.  There are biological experiments in there.

The horrible thing about “C” items is that they are a sly temptress and will lead you astray!  If you work on a pile of “C” things at the end of the day you feel great.  You feel like you’ve really been working hard and gotten a lot done., Because “C” things generally are quick and easy to do.  But then, the proverbial “other shoe” drops.  You look over at the A and B pile and your realize that “Oh Crap!”  The important things got left undone.  And not doing those A and B things can spell trouble!

So, take all those C things which are the things that are the least important, put them into an envelope or box and date it.  Then hide the box or envelope in a lower desk drawer or closet so that you won’t see it.  That way it won’t keep bugging you or tempt you into working on C’s instead of A’s or B’s.

Granted, sometimes a “C” becomes an “A” or a “B”.  If that happens, then you can pull it out of the back of the drawer and move it to the desktop, put in the A or B pile and work in it.  Anything that is still in the “C” envelope in six months should be either trashed or filed.  Face it.  If it isn’t important to work on in six months what are the odds that it will *ever* become important enough to work on?

So, now that you know about the A-B-C method, follow along as I put items from the list on my blog post “Getting Healthy is Complicated… …So do it One Step at a Time“, into A, B, and C groups:

Group A

Things that will either (1) create positive momentum or (2) will produce the most “bang for the buck” in my quest to be healthy.

  • Get a good night’s sleep (note: I’ve been tested and I’m allergic to dust mites and dust so some of this list are things to control dust and dust mites in my room so I sleep better)
    — Buy new pillows
    — Replace my old comforter
    — Replace the anti-allergy liner on my bed.
    — Do a spring cleaning of my bedroom (thorough dusting)
    — Replace the carpet in my room with hardwood floor
    — Look into the appliance that my dance partner was telling me about that controls snoring.
    — Reduce caffeine
    — Only two cups of coffee in the morning
    Unless it is at some gawd awful obscene hour of the morning and I
    have to be in the ballroom to dance, then we’ll have as many as it takes!
    — No caffeine after lunch.
    — Eliminate sodas from my diet.
    — Drink Green Tea instead of soda.
    — Go to bed at a consistent time / Wake up at a consistent time
    ..
  • Get back on Jenny Craig. This could also be said as “Join Weight Watchers” or “Plan and follow a healthy diet”. Diet as in food plan that is balanced and nutritious. What Jenny Craig or any other creditable weight management plan does is make it easier for you. In exchange for money, you get the professional skills of chefs, dietitians, etc. It makes it easier and more convenient and more likely for you to succeed, it is not a magic pill. These plans are not Harry Potter and this isn’t Hogwarts!
    — Reduce the number of times I eat at a fast food restaurant to almost zero
    — Don’t eat out at restaurants as a routine thing, make it the occasional thing or special thing.
    — When I do eat at a fast food place or a restaurant, choose the healthiest thing on the menu.
    ..
  • Increase my aerobic activity either through more dancing or by cycling or both

 Group B

Things that will move me toward my goal but which can be done at any point.

  • Drink more water.
  • Stretch
  • Lift weights
  • Take a daily vitamin supplement
  • Park at the edge of the parking lot at work or when I go to the grocery store, etc.
  • Make wise food choices at the grocery store like:
    — Buy whole wheat bread.
    — Drink only 1% milk
    — Buy only organic foods.
  • Stretch and warm up before a dance lesson or practice.
  • Install the “Stretching” software program on the computer at work so I don’t tense up my shoulders and neck from staying in one position too long.

Group C

Things which I’d *like* to do and which would be great, but which are not necessarily a critical step on the way to meeting my goal of getting fit and healthy.

  • Go out social dancing (no beer).  Yeah, like that is going to happen!  LOL  Ok, ok, just three beers for the whole evening!  That I can do.  :-)   And dear reader, “Why?”, you ask, “…is social dancing healthy?”  Well, mental health is important too and being around friends having a good time definitely improves overall quality of life.  So there!  And it is good exercise.  It’d be better without the beer, but let’s not get carried away here, I’m trying to be healthy, not a saint!
  • Take an adult ballet fitness class offered by the Texas Ballet Theater
  • Get a monthly massage (or more often if I can manage the cost)
  • Take a Tai Chi Class (I did Tai Chi for a while and I really really REALLY loved it).

Completed Tasks

  • Make my “morning coffee” more healthy
  • Until told otherwise, continue taking my high blood pressure medication. I have no idea why, but I had gotten lazy and had fallen out of the habit over the past year. When I went in for my physical this year, my doctor gave me a firm talkin’ to…I felt like a little boy who had been caught with his hand in the cookie jar. As well I should have! LOL I’m back on my meds and if my plans for this year work out, I’ll be able to go to her at next year’s physical and say “Hey Doc, can we try weaning me off the meds? I don’t think I need them any more.” Now that’s a goal worth shooting for!

See ya on the dance floor!

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About TxCowboyDancer

Eight time Country Dance World Champion. I love to dance. Working hard to transform myself from "unemployed and out-of-shape" to "in-shape full time professional writer, graphic artist, and dance instructor.

Posted on Sat, Dec 3, 2011, in Misc and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

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