Prioritize Business Goals: Business Prioritizing Systems

So much to do, so little time. That's the curse of the business person. And yet, it all has to get done. In this article, we'll look at a unique way to help you plan what you do in the day to help you work most effectively to grow your business.

When I plan my day, I use the 1, 2, 3, 4, 5… system. I list everything I need to do and I write the most important thing as #1, the second most important thing as #2, and so on until I run out of things on my list. Unfortunately, I often end up with three or four things that I’d like to label as #1 and five or six things that I’d like to label as #2, and so on.

One way to solve that is to use the A1, A2, A3, B1, B2, B3, C1, C2, C3 system. Label all of the most important things as A, and all the second most important things a B, etc. Then, within your batch of A-labeled items, rank them 1, 2, or 3, then move on to your B-labeled items.

Both systems have their advantages and disadvantages, but I’ve stumbled across a system that seems to work really well. Now when I sit down to plan my workflow, I have 3 questions to help me plan my day. But the tasks are not numbered by my own arbitrary decision on what’s more important, instead, this system uses a measuring stick to help you determine which is most important:

First, list all of your tasks for the day. Then, look at your tasks and ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What will have the most positive benefit to me?
  2. What will have the most positive benefit to my employee(s) and stakeholders?
  3. What will have the most positive benefit to my customer(s)?

For every question that you answer yes to, give it the point value of the question. So if something is beneficial to you, it gets one point. If something is beneficial to your employees and stakeholders it gets 2 points. If it is beneficial to you AND your employees and stakeholders it gets 3 points (1+2).

If you have as many as I (and most other entrepreneurs) do, it’s sometimes helpful to then highlight them in four colors (one color for each point) so you can easily see which ones are which.

When something is valuable only to me, it’s worth just one point, but when something is valuable only to my customers it’s worth 3, and when there’s a task that everyone benefits, it ends up being worth 6 points (1+2+3).

When I’ve reviewed each task and added its value, I then do the highest valued items first. If I find there is more than one item that is worth the same value, I simply work on the one that has value to the customers first, then to anyone else second.

Like all systems, it’s not foolproof. But it’s a great way to get a customer-centered look at your tasks and help you do the most important things first.

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