Mon Jan 09, 2017 3:54 pm
I just posted about "FOS" (Feeling Overwhelmed Syndrome) here...
I mentioned that I'd share a simple way to prioritize. We'll use this post and the previous one to show you how making these 2 posts rose to the top of my "to do" list even though they weren't even on my (overstocked) list when I started this morning.
I prioritize by considering 3 factors...
1) Importance - how important is this to the long-term success of my business?
NOTE: I am using one's "business" as the project to be optimized. You could use this strategy for "life" itself as your "project." For example, I assume you are doing SBI! because succeeding at it is of long-term importance for your life. Or you could use it for any project you happen to be working on - any project with a big enough "to do" list that requires this approach, that is.
2) Urgency - how urgent is it?
This may sound similar to "Importance," but is actually very different. Know how to split these into two. "Urgent" can be distractions in disguise. Something that seems like it has to be done NOW requires a question...
"What happens if I don't do it right away?"
THAT ties you back to Importance, helping you to split the two factors. Urgency requires action fast, but if it will make near-zero difference to your business, you can delete it (or bury it deep into your "to do" list - that's just like deleting it, but you feel better ).
In the case of these two posts, I know that I won't come back to this. And I believe that there's information that would be value to those tackling the BIG project of building an online business.
YOU would never know if I chose NOT to post this. So it's not about that. It's purely based upon MY evaluation...
"Does this help fulfill our mandate to help you?"
The answer to that tells me that this is not an opportunity that I wanted to pass upon.
But there's a third factor to consider...
The longer a "to do" takes, the higher the first two factors must score.
Using these two posts as examples, here's how I prioritized them to "do now" status...
1) Both are important. Every solopreneur suffers from FOS from time to time. And many folks don't prioritize very well - it's an important skill. So I give each a 9 out of 10.
2) Neither is urgent. If I posted this tomorrow, you would not be the worse for it. But I know that this particular instance is opportunistic. If I don't do this now, I'm not burying this in my lower-down "to do" list.
So it's not the best example, since "now or never" is tricky to rank in terms of urgency. I consider this important enough that I can't choose "never." I tend to rank these in the middle -> 5.
I "sort of" multiply the 2 factors together, putting them as mid-range (45). I say "sort of" because there's no exactness in the number. It's really just a way to consider both factors at the same time.
So what pushes the decision these? Yup, Time...
I use Time, the 3rd factor, to figure out everything in the middle.
"How much time will this take me?"
It took me 10 minutes to post the "FOS" post. I consider that a great use of the time.
This one took me 30 minutes. That puts it at borderline, but I needed it to complete the first post to deliver a complete methodology for how to prioritize your "to do" list and overcome FOS.
Thinking It Through
It's easy to prioritize anything that scores 10 for both Importance and Urgency, or 1 for both. Time is rarely relevant (unless it's extreme).
Anyone would drop the latter (0 x 0) and do the former (100 x 100) first. There are not many "to do" items like that, though.
The worst "to do" projects have high urgency but zero importance. The result is still zero. The sooner you learn to pass on those, the faster you'll grow your business because you'll delete the stuff that was yelling loudest (or that you knew would be fun) but had zero import.
The opposite situation... Low-urgency, but high importance, projects are very different. These are the ones that tend to get put off forever because they tend to be bigger projects. The solution?
Give them some urgency by giving them a start date.
That start date is determined, to some degree, by Time. The less time it will take, pull that start date forward. The longer it will take, push it back (all else being equal). Of course, circumstances will affect your start date, but you get the idea -- don't keep pushing these back because they don't need to be done soon.
OK, my main goal was to help you solve "FOS." This post, on prioritization, was needed to complete the first post.
I hope that both were time well spent.
1) Was either post helpful?
2) How do YOU deal with FOS, and
3) Do you have a system to prioritize? If so, how do you decide what to do...
All the best,