How Do I Choose What To Work On?


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If you have multiple projects and not much time or resources at hand, you may be worried about making the smartest choice in deciding what to focus on. Without the right focus, you could lose sight of your goals and spend effort on projects that will not take you where you want to go. Bad news, right?

In this article, you will find tips and tools that you can use to make the best decision and start working on what really matters to you.

The Daily Review

Performing a daily review is invaluable for your productivity. It helps you put things into perspective, which is a great first step to decide what to focus on.

With the daily review, you will have the chance to look at the small tasks that need attention as well as the long-term goals that generated those tasks in the first place. Reading those every day will not save your from procrastinating and having to do hard work, but will keep the bigger picture at the center of your efforts.

This should make it easier for you to figure out what deserves most of your attention, and will help set your thoughts on autopilot for focusing on the correct task.

Expected Value Calculators

This is something I like to do more on a quarterly rather than a daily basis. It is especially useful at times when I feel overwhelmed, with five projects and no idea where to start from.

To put it simply, an expected value calculator is just a way of writing down your projects, assigning some values to them, and looking at what the numbers put out and tell you. I shared this post in June, where you can find an example with that I created in AirTable, where you can insert your projects and give them a descriptive name to remember them later.

You will see five main columns that are on a scale from one to five. The scale allows you to first assign a number to your level of excitement for a specific project – are you looking forward to it, or is it just something that you need to get over with? This will give you time for a little self-reflection and be honest with yourself about what you care about the most.

You can then assign a value from 1 to 5 for the expected 12 week ROI for your projects. That is the outcomes that you expect that project to produce in 90 days. The payoff doesn’t necessarily have to be monetary – maybe in your personal life, you would like to lose 10 pounds over the next six months. Well, in that case, the 12 week ROI would probably be pretty good in terms of health, focus, motivation, etc.

You can also choose a year or 24 month ROI, which in the case of weight loss will have a very big effect in terms of your health, and how you feel. It then calculates the total value for you.

The value is calculated exponentially, giving a large score for giving high values, so that it is much more than just a sum of numbers. That makes it very quick and easy to spot a project that is mostly fives, which means that you are very excited about it and has a high ROI in the near and far future. It is a great way to get out of your head and see on paper things that you may be thinking subconsciously. It is helpful tool to realize what you want to start working on first.

Take a few minutes and plug in projects that you’re thinking about doing…did you find anything surprising?

About the author

Adam Moody

I'm Adam Moody with the Productivity Academy. Get your productivity, time management, automation, and organization questions answered here. Be sure to check out the Productivity Academy YouTube Channel.

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By Adam Moody

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