Khe Hy

Khe Hy

24-03-2022

17:40

How do you prioritize (when everything is a priority)? Here are 6 radical approaches to prioritization that will strengthen your competitive moat:

We all know the Eisenhower Matrix, the classic prioritization framework. But Houston, we have a problem: Everything is important. Everything is urgent. Everything needed to be done yesterday.

1. Identify trade-offs using even-over statements Would you rather have ice cream over broccoli? Easy. But should you work on hiring a new analyst or redesigning your employee onboarding?

When both options are good ones, the choice can feel impossible. Meet "even-over" statements. They force you to take a principled (and explicit) stance on your priorities. (HT @samspurlin, @WorkNOBL)

Some examples of even-over statements: - Excellent customer service EVEN over new features (Product) - Growth EVEN over unfinished offers (Revenue) - Progress EVEN over perfection (Strategy) - Radical Candor EVEN over team harmony (Culture)

2. Measure the return on effort If your planning process only measures outputs, you’re missing the full picture. Time, effort and cognitive load are all inputs that should factor into the calculation.

Here’s a simple example: writing a Tweetstorm vs. filming a YouTube video. The Tweetstorm will take 30 minutes and will generate 10 new sign-ups. The YouTube video will take 10 hours and generate 150 sign-ups.

Now you can estimate the “return on effort” - Tweetstorm: 0.33 (i.e 10 sign-ups / 30 mins) ✅ - YouTube video: 0.25 (150 / 600) The ROE recommends that you focus on the Tweetstorm *first* Remember, this is a prioritization exercise.

3. Adjust your “Return on Effort” using probabilities Extend this analysis by accounting for the probability of success. What if you’re 90% certain the YouTube video will work, yet only 25% certain about the Tweetstorm?

Here’s the new math: - Tweetstorm: 0.33 * 25% = 0.08 - YouTube video: 0.25 * 90% = 0.22 ✅ This is probably overkill, but can be a quick mental heuristic if you’re still stuck.

4. Understand the dependencies If a task unblocks a subsequent action, it increases in value. If I need to sign-off on a product roadmap, our PM, ops and marketing teams are all in “standing mode” until I’ve done my part.

The output of that task is highly levered because 3 other people will work on it. This changes the “Overall Task Output” that is measured in step 2. It’s also why managers should highly prioritize removing roadblocks for their direct reports. (HT: @brandonmchu)

(Side note, this is why it’s harder to do Deep Work as a manager. Your tasks are dependent on OTHERS’ needs and activities - and thus THEIR timing. Unblocking folks by definition is high-leverage.)

5. Look for 1-to-many opportunities If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. If you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.

The highest-leverage tasks involve other people. Usually that’s direct reports. But it also includes contractors, stakeholders, customers. You can’t go wrong if an activity involves Recruiting, Training, Educating and Engaging.

6. Check that the task is aligned to a bigger “Why” This may sound a bit woo woo, but imagine dedicating your life to becoming a partner at Goldman. That path is paved by a decades-long to-do list.

But do you truly want to be a partner? Do you truly need to build that extra feature? Here’s where a broader framework like OKRs or a strong Mission Statement can gut check that your WHY is truly “worth it.”

To summarize, effective prioritization is a superpower that drives focus, clarity and alignment. Here’s how to do it well: 1. Use even-over statements 2. Measure return on effort 3. Add probabilities 4. Understand dependencies 5. Find the 1-to-many opps 6. Align to a Why

If these tweets helped unblock your "Important and Urgent" tasks, please share the first one. Stay rad, fam 🤙🏽



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