May 13, 2023

Boost Your Biz: Pinpoint Your 20% High-Impact Tasks

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If you're a Solopreneur, you're probably juggling a ton of work. Especially if you’re building something on the side of your full-time job.

Whether it's building your LinkedIn audience, selling courses, running a newsletter, coaching, or managing a cohort-based program, there's likely too much stuff on your plate.

And with limited time, you want to make sure you're focused on the things that actually make a difference.

You’ve probably heard of Pareto's Law: 80% of our results come from 20% of our actions.

But the biggest challenge lies in figuring out which actions make up that 20%.

So this week I’m sharing a simple process to help you pinpoint your most valuable tasks so you can make the most of your limited time and energy.

Step 1: Brainstorm and List Your Tasks

Step one is to get everything out on the table - and I mean everything.

Go old school with paper and pen, and make a list of all the tasks you juggle for your business.

List everything from content creation and marketing to customer support, managing vendors, building products, and admin work. Even the smallest tasks add up, so include everything you can think of.

It’s not important to filter or prioritize yet. We'll get to that soon.

Step 2: Choose Primary Outcome & Score Your Tasks

Once you have your task list, it’s time to decide what impact you want to focus on.

What’s the highest priority result you want to achieve?

Are you trying to grow your following? Increase subscribers to your newsletter? Get more people to your website? Or sell more products?

Every priority requires a different focus, so it’s important to choose your most desired outcome. Let’s call this your primary outcome.

Once you’ve defined your primary outcome, it's time to give each task on your list an “Impact Score”.

On a scale of 1 to 10, rate the impact each task has on your primary outcome.

Step 3: Identify Time Spent On Each Task

Next, estimate how much time you typically spend on each of your tasks per week.

This will illuminate whether or not you’re spending your time effectively.

And if you’re like me, you’ll see trends emerge almost immediately.

You’ll uncover tasks where you spend a ton of time and get little in return towards your primary outcome, or high-value tasks that you don’t spend enough time on at all!

Step 4: Calculate Your Impact-To-Time Ratio

Now that you have an impact score and time investment estimate for each task, it's easy to calculate your impact-to-time ratio.

All you have to do is divide the impact score by the time spent on the task.

For example, let’s say your primary outcome is to grow your following on social media.

Let’s compare two tasks and see which one is more valuable for your outcome:

  • Answering admin emails impact on social growth: 3 out of 10
  • Time spent answering admin emails: 3 hours
  • Impact-to-time ratio: 1 (3 divided by 3)

Now compare that to:

In this example, it’s easy to see that the time spent writing content on LinkedIn is 4x more impactful for growing your social media following.

Now perform this calculation across all the tasks on your list.

This will give you a simple, clear, and objective measure of which tasks deliver the biggest bang for your time and effort.

Step 5: Prioritize and Focus

The last step is the fun part - sort your tasks from the highest to lowest value.

Once you’ve done this, you’ll have a long list of tasks with their impact scores.

We want to identify the 20% of tasks that Pareto’s Law refers to.

So let’s say you have 30 tasks. Picking the top 20% is easy - It’s the top 6 on your list.

Focusing on your top 20% of tasks will ensure you're maximizing your time on your most valuable tasks.

For the other 80% of tasks, you can eliminate, simplify, automate, or delegate. Don’t spend your time here!

Because remember: it's not necessarily about doing less work, but about working smarter.

Final thoughts

I recommend revisiting this exercise twice a year, or even once per quarter, as your priorities change.

And make sure you keep this process in handy when you need to refocus.

I hope this simple and practical approach to Pareto's Law helps you push away lower-value work and focus on moving your business forward, one critical metric at a time.

That’s all for this week.

See you next Saturday.

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