In the fast-paced world of entrepreneurship, it’s common to find ourselves overwhelmed with a never-ending to-do list. With so many tasks competing for our attention, it can be challenging to determine what should be our next priority.
In this blog post, I want to share a valuable tool I discovered that has helped me effectively identify and prioritize my business tasks. It all started with an email I received from Jamie DeBose from Zenplicity, containing actionable advice that I couldn’t ignore. Instead of filing it away, I decided to implement her suggestions into my existing systems.
Let’s dive into this simple yet powerful method for prioritizing tasks and taking action.
The Zenplicity Cure for Shiny Object System
In her email, Jamie shared the following system:
Spend 15 minutes and write down all the ideas you have for growing your business.
Rate each one on a scale of 1-5 (with 1 being the easiest and 5 being the hardest to finish.
Then rate each one on a scale of 1-5 based on how excited you are to execute each idea.
Then rate each one on a scale of 1-5 based on the profit potential it has for your business.
Now pick the top thing (the one with the lowest score) and focus on doing that thing.
Give yourself a little grace and space to get all the ideas on paper, and make sure the effort you’re putting into the projects to grow your business are fun and profitable and get to work!–Jamie DuBose, Zenplicity
Now let’s look at how I integrated this into my existing systems. Bonus! At the end of this blog post, I have a link to download a copy of the worksheet I created.
Entrepreneurial Operating System
Personally, I rely on the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS), specifically the Vision Traction Organizer (VTO), as a framework to guide my business decisions. The VTO helps me outline my vision for the year and the next three years, allowing me to focus on the most critical tasks for the next 90 days.
However, I found that in between these quarterly planning sessions, I would often come up with countless new ideas for my business. To capture and categorize these ideas, I started using a brainstorming and prioritization template.
The Idea Brain Dump and Categorization
The first step is to create a list of all the ideas and tasks you want to work on. These can include building a landing page, developing an email series, executing a social media campaign, and various other business-related activities. Once you have your list, it’s time to assign a scale of one to five to each item based on three key factors.
Task Difficulty: Determine the level of effort and complexity associated with each task. Consider how much is dependent on your involvement versus what can be delegated. For instance, if you’re planning a sales webinar, you might personally feel it is a challenging task because it involves setting up the webinar, creating slides, developing landing pages, writing emails and so many more tasks. Your scale might reflect a higher difficulty level. However, someone else might find it relatively easy to accomplish. Assign a scale that represents the task’s level of difficulty for you.
Excitement Level: Assess your personal level of excitement for each task. Consider which tasks genuinely energize you and which ones you find less appealing. Assign a scale based on your level of excitement, with five representing the most exciting and one being the least exciting.
Profitability: Assign a number from 1-5 based on whether you think the task will result in more revenue (and/or profitability) for your business, with one being the least revenue, and five being the most revenue. For example, a warm-up email sequence might encourage subscribers to purchase your products or services. You have already accomplished the somewhat difficult task of asking them to subscribe to your list and they have shown interest in what you are offering. So a warm-up email series might be exactly what they need to make the decision to buy. Therefore, this task is likely going to result in more revenue more easily than, say, an organic social media posting campaign.
Using the Template: Identifying Priorities
By assigning scales to each task based on difficulty, revenue, and excitement, you can use the template to determine your priorities. Start by tallying up the scores for each task.
Now here is where the magic happens in the worksheet I have created. I have set rules to highlight the cells different colors based on the score it receives. I am a visual thinker and having a pop of color helps me clearly make the decision without me overthinking.
If a task scores over 10, it receives a green light and becomes a high-priority item.
Scores between 5 and 10 indicate moderate priority (orange)
Ccores below 5 signify low priority (red).
This approach is akin to traffic lights, guiding you toward the tasks that require immediate attention.
Taking Action with a Task Breakdown
Once you have identified your top priority task, it’s essential to break it down into actionable steps. For example, if you decide to focus on developing an email sequence, create a separate document to outline the necessary actions and responsibilities. Brainstorm the required steps, estimate the time needed for each, and assign responsibility for completing them. This breakdown allows you to track progress and ensures nothing falls through the cracks.
You will discover that I have created a worksheet for you to break out these steps for you.
When you’re faced with numerous tasks and struggle to determine what to work on next, this simple prioritization tool can be a game-changer. By evaluating task difficulty and excitement levels, you gain clarity on which tasks deserve your immediate attention. With a clear roadmap and a breakdown of actionable steps, you’ll be able to move forward with purpose and achieve your business goals.
Thank you, Jamie, for gracing my inbox today with this excellent shiny-object system.
Bonus! Download Your Worksheet
Here is a link to make a copy of the Google worksheet to keep for yourself. Today, I am not asking for your email address in order to download this sheet, but please do me a favor and add a comment below the video on Loom so that I can hear all about how you used the tool.
P.S. Truth be told, I had blocked time in my calendar this morning for another project that required my attention but I got so excited by this “shiny object” that I just had to act. So, um, do as I say, not as I do. And we will save time management systems for another post!
Photo by Donald Giannatti on Unsplash
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