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Prioritising and to do lists

By September 17th, 2020No Comments

Prioritising your to-do lists for digital marketing and ecommerce, not just for you, but for your team are a must. I came across this post the other day on Linkedin, where Richard Branson of Virgin was talking about the culture of to-do-lists at Virgin and said

I can confidently state that our culture of notes and thoughtful to-do-lists has made Virgin what it is today.

I couldn’t help but think of the association of that quote to our approach at Crank, but more on that later.
Richard went on to quote author and Forbes Leadership columnist Kevin Krusse;

To-do-lists are a waste of time and make people more stressed…

Kevin Kruse claims just 41 per cent of the items on to-do-lists are completed and it’s this that causes the stress, and therefore recommends dividing the day into 15 minute blocks. He goes on to say that better scheduling also helps and if people choose a time of the day for specific tasks and stick to it, their productivity will improve.
the fact is that we often don’t or can’t distinguish between what’s important and what’s not which results in poor prioritisation.

Richard Branson says you should learn to realise that you can’t do everything.
Quite often you will only do 50 per cent of things on to-do-lists because, on reflection, only 50 per cent are worth doing.
By putting things on lists it will help clarify what’s worth doing and what’s worth dropping.

So maybe only completing 41 per cent of your to-do-lists isn’t bad after all? What’s key is that you understand the value of what you’re doing and can therefore prioritise more effectively.

If you have difficulty figuring out what’s important and whats not, or maybe you have a long list of things you ‘think’ you need to get done, like on that New Year’s resolution list that we’ve already abandoned, then you can use tools like the Eisenhower Box, which is a decision matrix.
James Clear wrote a great post explaining where it came from and how it’s best used.  The post includes a template of the Eisenhower Box.

Dwight Eisenhower, 34th President of the United States, himself said;

What is important is seldom urgent, and what is urgent is seldom important.

The Eisenhower Box is a 2×2 matrix and is great for those longer strategic lists

  • Urgent and important (tasks you will do immediately).
  • Important, but not urgent (tasks you will schedule to do later).
  • Urgent, but not important (tasks you will delegate to someone else).
  • Neither urgent nor important (tasks that you will eliminate).

Other Entrepreneurs have also piped up with suggestions,

Jack Dorsey, Entrepreneur and Co-founder of Twitter, recommends giving every day a theme, such as management, marketing, finance etc.

and Tim Ferriss, Entrepreneur and Author of the 4 hour Workweek, says;

“Being busy is a form of laziness — lazy thinking and indiscriminate action.”

At Crank we use data to help build the to-do-lists for web based businesses, attributing a value and a set of metrics into to-do-lists which are split into thirds of high, medium and low priority. This enables those directing others and those of a team, to have a focus of activity which is achievable and measurable. Since it’s quarterly and your focus is on the top 33% with an attributed value and set of KPis it’s easier to decide the areas that require the majority of your focus. This is important as often there are many stakeholders and making a decision can come down to a HiPPO decision or gut feel. Using a financial value adds a bit more weight to the decision making.

In a similar way to Branson’s only 50% get done because that’s all that’s worth doing, at Crank we apply a similar approach, we highlight the top third of things you should do first, allowing you to provide those responsible with the autonomy to get stuff done but in a way that’s measured and agreed by all.

How do you cope with your ecommerce or web based to do lists?


Author peterjabraham

@peterjabraham - Inquisitor and CO_FOUNDER we are Crank, AUTHOR Building the Agile Business through Digital Transformation

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