The Fine Art of Prioritization
So Hard to Choose
If you have lots of ideas in your head or on your “to do” list that are not getting done, you’re certainly not alone. Here’s a process for helping you decide what to do first, next, and not at all.
Once you have everything down on paper, you will be amazed at how much this unclutters your thinking. You will also have all your great ideas captured so you don’t forget them. You might also get very overwhelmed, but don’t stop now. Relief is on the way.
Add some information about each item, creating four additional columns:
Analyze your choices
- Separate tasks that are working ON vs. IN your business. There is never enough time to work on your business, so force it by blocking out a few hours or a half-day a week and do it, no matter what. It might be the best way to make progress in your business.
- Sort the list by how much revenue the task could generate or how much potential it has, and decide how to prioritize from there. If you need help calculating the ROI, return on investment of an idea, we can help you calculate that.
- Take a look at what you marked “not able to delegate,” and ask “why not?” Does a procedure need to be written? Do you need more staff? Does your staff need training? Or do you need to learn to let go? Whatever it is, and especially if there are a lot of these items, get these roadblocks tackled so you don’t become the bottleneck in your own business.
- Sort the list by “column D” above, the market value you recorded for the task. Then ask yourself what your hourly rate is. How many tasks are you doing that are below your hourly rate? Hiring someone to do your lowest level tasks could very well be another item you need to add to your new “to do” list.
This last one is really important, because it can so strongly affect the profitability of your business. The last thing you want to do is go backwards and give yourself a demotion with a pay decrease, but that’s exactly what you’re doing each time you do a task yourself that’s at a low market rate.
Prioritize with confidence
There’s nothing more precious and scarce than our time. Every day, we have a choice about how to spend it, but too often we get caught up in the urgent, but not important, daily fires. This exercise helps us take a step back and look at what’s important instead of what’s urgent.