Barbara Corcoran made her mark building one of New York's largest real estate companies. Today, she is a panelist on the ABC program Shark Tank and runs a new, much smaller, firm that works with the start-ups she chooses to invest in on that show. Corcoran has long used an A-through-C letter system to prioritize her to-do list.


"Capital A is for items that will push my business ahead, that only I can do, and that are time sensitive." Example: meeting with start-up and investment pick Pork Barrel BBQ Sauce to discuss valuation and possible partnership


"Small A's are also time sensitive, but if they don't happen, it's not catastrophic." Example: preparing for interview on the Today show


"B's are important but have no specific deadline." Example: follow up on an opportunity at


"C's don't make any difference in the grand scheme of things. If I have spare time, I'll work on some C's." Example: doing an interview with a magazine reporter


"I love doing favors for people, but as a result of this new business, I've had to eliminate them from my life."


Barbara Corcoran will be speaking at the 2011 Inc. 500 | 5000 Conference. To attend, click here.