Read Time: 5 minutes
- You have your goals and a clear vision of the desired outcome.
- You’ve made a to-do list of everything that needs to be done and they are broken down into 1-2 step tasks that take no longer than 50 minutes.
- Every task is labeled and organized per the Urgent/Important Matrix.
Now you’re ready to prioritize each quadrant. That’s right, just because something is organized doesn’t mean you jump right in and begin completing tasks willy-nilly. Truly organized time focuses on those activities that will also yield the highest impact with the least effort. It’s another matrix!
Impact: The amount of positive change that occurs based on the effort; Examples:
- Increase of productivity, profits, intimacy, muscle mass, quality of sleep, family connection, laughter, joy, happiness, sex
- Decrease of stress-related symptoms, BMI, staff turnover, team miscommunication, product failure, anger, frustration, headaches
- Efficiency in workflow, family dinners, scheduled meetings, onboarding
Defining impact is a combination of your opinion and data analysis. Remember, this is ultimately about achieving some goal so there needs to be a measurable component to it even if it is intrinsic. Also, we suggest starting with answering the question, “How much impact with this have on X?” The only two answers are low or high: no kinda-sorta, maybe, well ifs, etc. If you don’t know, you haven’t gotten enough clarity in your goal so go back and take another look at that.
Effort: The amount of grit and gumption it takes to bring about the impact; Examples:
- Personal energy used
- Resources expended
- Tools utilized
- Money spent
- Sacrifices made
- Other’s guidance/input
Effort has many different considerations and each of them are equally as valid. Make sure to weigh all the factors before determining the level of effort for one task. For example, your go to filter might be to first think how much something might cost, when, in reality, spending money doesn’t always trump your gain of family time or intimacy with your partner. All factors deserve to be valued.
Now that you understand Effort and Impact, let’s review what the matrix looks like.
As you can see from the illustration, organizing and prioritizing your tasks are very different. Urgent tasks will keep you busy, doesn’t mean you’ll be productive and have an impact. Bouncing from one important task to another will create some sort of change, just not in a strategic way that maximized and leverages the Big Wins.
Priority Matrix Tips:
- Start prioritizing the Urgent and Important tasks from Quadrant I, then II, and III. Quadrant IV shouldn’t be priority at all.
- Focus on Big Wins doesn’t mean you ignore Major Projects and Fill-Ins. They can still be Urgent and Important.
- Time Wasters are typically those things that we enjoy and gives us a break. They aren’t meant to be totally excluded, just rationed and acknowledged that these aren’t getting you what you really want.
- One implement one or two Major Projects at once. They are time consuming and require multiple efforts.
- If you have tasks under Major Projects that can be grouped into one, large project, create a Project Plan instead of cluttering the quadrant.
- Priorities change to match our circumstances. Post your Priority Matrix on your wall so you can review it daily and adjust as necessary.
- Just because you allocated a task to one quadrant doesn’t mean it won’t move to another. Be flexible and adaptable.
The next step is to assign responsibility for each task.
We review our organized time flow chart and then analyze our impact and effort using the Priority Matrix.