Prioritizing tasks is absolutely essential for marketing, or any aspect of business really. There will always be a shiny new object staring you in the face. And even without new tasks popping up out of the blue, there is already plenty enough on you plate.
There can be so many different directions you can go that you end up doing nothing at all. Not very productive. So how do you go about deciding what to do next? How do you avoid getting sidetracked from doing the things that will actually help you get to the point you want to be?
You need to have an effective method of prioritizing your tasks. And I am about to give you one that disagrees with many “productivity experts.”
I’ve read a lot about how you should start each day with the most difficult task so that you can get it out of the way ASAP. This approach is fundamentally flawed. Why default to starting with the hardest task.
Personally, and maybe it’s just me being lazy, I want to do the tasks that are the easiest with the best results. I don’t want to do a task just because it is the hardest if it is only going to make a marginal difference.
Here is a simple task prioritization method you can do to keep yourself on track…
The usual first step with anything you do should be to figure out what you are trying to accomplish. What are your goals? Before you undertake any tasks at all, you should decide where you want those tasks to lead you.
Otherwise, why are you doing anything at all?
Are you trying to increase your email list subscriptions? Trying to increase sales conversions? Trying to drive traffic? There are plenty of options here…figure out what you want to focus on and what is most important to you at the moment (and in the long run).
To begin your task prioritization, make a list of all of the marketing tasks you have in mind. If you’re going to prioritize everything you want to do, you need to have it all in one place first.
I suggest starting an excel spreadsheet. Why? Because I am obsessed with it and do almost everything in excel (as you can tell from my content inventory). But beyond that, it’ll make the process of ordering your tasks much simpler.
If you are creating an Excel file like I suggested, you can list your tasks in Column A.
The next thing you want to do is actually assess how much of an impact each task on your list is going to have on achieving the goals you have set. Give each task a rating from 1 to 10 – 1 being the most effective and 10 being the least effective.
For example, increasing your Twitter following probably won’t have much impact on your goal of increasing sales conversions. You certainly wouldn’t give this a rating 1.
List these ratings in Column B.
Complexity in this case can mean a few things. But focus on how much investment in terms of time, money or human resources it will take to complete each task.
Again, give each task a rank from 1 to 10 – a rating of 1 for the simplest tasks and a rating of 10 for the most complex.
Something you can do by yourself in a matter of minutes will get a 1 rating, for example. Something that will take weeks to accomplish, or a large monetary investment, will get a lower rating.
And although I am usually here to talk about the effectiveness of content marketing, I am readily willing to admit that it takes more effort than some other tasks you may have on your list. For example, paid ads will give you results much quicker. However you have to pay. This is a tradeoff you have to to account for to see if it is right for your own business.
List these ratings in Column C.
At this point you have assessed the effectiveness of each task you have on your list, as well as the complexity. What else do you really need in order to prioritize? Not much in my opinion.
Now, add together the ratings for both effectiveness and complexity for each task.
Next, divide this sum by 2.
This will give you a pretty simple average rating for each task on your list.
Do this calculation in Column D.
You are now ready to prioritize your tasks.
If you took my advice and completed this exercise in Excel, all you have to do now is sort Column D in ascending order. The result is a list of tasks that are ordered from most effective and simplest to accomplish through least effective and most complex.
At this point I would completely cut out tasks at the bottom of the list. These are complex and don’t have much of a return on the investment. You can put them on the back burner. But really…why do them at all?
So what do you think? Easy enough method for prioritizing tasks? Can you use this simple approach to advance your business faster and more effectively? Try it out. And, if you haven’t done so already, don’t forget to sign up for updates by filling out the form below!