Prioritising Tasks with Action Priority Matrix

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I recommend prioritising your to do list, especially when it gets a bit overwhelming. It helps you understand that you're not wasting your valuable time on tasks that don't actually matter. You're getting things done that will have a positive impact on you and your business.

There's a few ways to do this. One is by using a to-do list that separates your most important tasks from the wish-list tasks. Wish-list tasks are ones that you'd like to get done, but aren't urgent and can be done later. This works well for me with my day-to-day tasks. I have more direction, I feel accomplished when I have completed my important tasks, but don't kick myself if I haven't completed all of the ones on my wish-list.

If it's not clear to you which tasks are important or are wish-list tasks, you can check out this Action Priority Matrix. It's a great visual to help you determine the jobs that will create more of an impact (or positive effect) vs low impact (time wasting tasks) as well as assess their required effort to complete. Take a look:

In this visual matrix, you can see that tasks and projects can be sorted into one of the four sections of the matrix. It'll either be high or low impact (the positive effect it will have in your business), and it'll be high or low energy (the time, effort and resources used to complete the task).

If you can determine where in the matrix your task or project fits, your job of prioritising the task is made clearer.

High Effort, High Impact

These tasks are usually bigger projects such as building a website, creating a lead magnet or setting up automations. They're of great value to you, but can take time so they'll need to be tackled over the course of days, weeks or months.

Low Effort, High Impact

These are your quick wins. The things that don't take much to complete but that have a high impact. This could be a phone call to see how a client is doing (nurturing relationships), working on your latest blog, or watching a tutorial to learn something new. The effort and resources needed to do these jobs aren't a great deal, but they still make a good contribution to your business objectives.

Low Effort, Low Impact

Tasks that live in this corner are things that you do if you're bored. No seriously. Because they don't take much energy, but don't have a great impact either. So think of things like if your to-do list was messy and you want to rewrite it. Or if you're researching new tech software that you don't actually need to use yet.

High Effort, Low Impact

Treat this corner as the recycle bin for your tasks. Anything that lands here is not worth your time or effort. If it will take significant resources and time to complete, but won't have much of an impact on your business objectives then don't even give it a thought.

Now, the key is to understand where these tasks fit in with your objectives. Don't pay attention to what other business owners are doing, because one woman's treasure, is another woman's trash. Let's look at an example.

Think about this task: Set up email marketing

This task is high effort. It could be high impact to one business, but low impact to another. If you're creating a lead magnet but have no strategy for email marketing, then it's low impact. It takes up your time with no return. But... if you're incorporating it into your email marketing strategy then it becomes high effort, high impact.

If you'd like a printable version of this Action Priority Matrix to prioritise your ideas, you can download this template.

Let me know how you go!

About Michelle

Michelle is a chocoholic, stationery obsessed Business Coach from the seaside town of Mandurah, WA. She specialises in working with Virtual Assistants and B2B service providers, helping them to grow a business that fulfills them, without feeling the overwhelm and angst that comes with running your own show.



Close up of woman (Michelle Marks) holding a purple notebook and smiling

About the author

Michelle is a chocoholic, stationery obsessed Business Coach from the seaside town of Mandurah, WA. She specialises in working with Virtual Assistants and B2B service providers, helping them to grow a fulfilling, sustainable and profitable home-based business.

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