Organization- Manilla Folder/ ABCDE Method

I plan to do several series of PD to share with you- my team! I welcome feedback, input, and suggestions on future posts.

Today I will be posting about task organization and prioritization. How many times do you come up with THE BEST to-do list and have every intention of completing all tasks listed, only to get part of the way through and realize that you have spent your whole day working on frivolous tasks and none of the important ones were completed?

I personally find myself needing to focus on time management the most because, to be frank, I have very little time and sometimes very little energy to get my personal business tasks completed after a full 8hrs (plus driving time) at my desk job. It’s critical for me to complete the most important tasks first and fill in remaining time with other less critical tasks as I can. In the book Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy he covers MANY different ways to look at and approach your prioritization. The ACBDE method really intrigued me and reminded me of another training I attended a few years ago that spoke about time management and the manilla folder method.

I’m going to share with you the ABCDE method combined with the manilla folder method because both of them are fantastic ways to organize your tasks, and combined I think that they are THE BEST way to organize and complete any job, task or to-do list in the most efficient way possible.

The Manilla Folder/ABCDE Task Organization Method (example listed below instructions)

  1. Think on paper- make a rough list of your tasks to be done for this project. They do  not need to be listed in any particular order at this point.
  2. Set up- Grab a manilla folder, a large poster board or visual board on the wall (whiteboard) and make 5 sticky note heading tabs each labeled with one letter A, B, C, D, and E. Place them in a column on the left side of your work surface.
  3. Write all of your tasks out on individual sticky notes. I like to use big sticky notes to represent jobs that can be broken down and smaller sticky notes to list out each sub-task. It is very similar to creating an outline for a paper at paragraph and sentence level.
  4. Begin placing your tasks next to each of the alphabet rows, prioritizing as follows:
    A– Most important, must do tasks. If these tasks don’t get done there will be SERIOUS consequences.
    B– Tasks that you should do, but will have minor consequences if they are not completed.
    C– Tasks that would be nice to do, but have no consequences if they are not completed.
    D– Tasks that you can delegate. These should be tasks that need to be done, but not necessarily by you. These are things that will take away from your task lists A and B.
    E– Tasks that you can eliminate. They hold no value to your success and are no longer relevant.
  5. Organize each letter row by importance as well, placing the most important task in row A first, the next important after that…
  6. Fill in any sub-tasks within your groupings that will help you breakdown your jobs and stay focused on one area of your work at a time.
  7. As you complete jobs you can:
    -Remove them from your list and toss the sticky note
    -Move them to the side to use later if they are reoccurring tasks (IG Posting, FB Posting)
  8. You can use your folder each day, make one for each day of the week/month, or however you find it to be beneficial for you.  Include as much or as little detail as you like. The more details you include, the easier it will be for you to complete the small tasks and fully complete the job without becoming overwhelmed.


For my example below I decided to map out the beginnings of a Challenge Group. It is just a basic example and can be broken down a lot more with many more tasks.

A- I decided that actually creating the group and setting guidelines were an absolute must. I placed creating the group before setting guidelines because I felt it was more important to have the group created first.
B- I decided that posting my personal progress pics would be nice, after I completed all tasks in A, but wouldn’t completely derail my project.C- Making a banner is nice, but it won’t affect the group in any way. If I have time after the task above are complete, then I will do this.
D- Daily themes are a fun way to keep a group interactive, I decided that I would delegate these to my team. I still want them completed, but my team can complete this task, freeing my time up for tasks A, B, and C.
E- For this example I decided that making a group roster wasn’t really necessary. I can see all members in the group information section, and if I want to check on participation I can search each member by name and make sure they are consistently posting.



Thanks for stopping by. Let me know what you think, if you have any questions, or if there are other topics you would like to see me posting about.

Have a great day!!

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