What a paradox that to write about productivity for those who always postpone things, I am procrastinating myself while scrolling productivity and business tips on Twitter. The problem is that I shouldn’t focus on productivity to be productive. Instead, I should focus on my goals. And develop effective habits.
The trick is just to start doing what you planned. And so I started, and in this article, I will give you a glimpse of those habits that you should develop to live a more thriving and meaningful life.
Know your WHY’s
Always be aware of why you are doing what you are doing. You will always have very little motivation if your reasons are vague.
Do you work just for survival? Or for financial stability? Or for recognition? Or for impact? Or for self-expression?
Finish what you started
Decide in advance which of your projects are to be finished and which of them are just experiments.
Don’t start working on new projects until the old ones are completed. Learn the habit of getting things done.
Focus on your strengths
Nobody is perfect. Everyone has their flaws. As well as their strengths.
Don’t be sorry about what you can’t do. Identify what you can do best, and make that even better.
Ask others for help when it’s too hard to handle yourself or takes too much time.
Start now with what you have
Perfect conditions will never exist. So you have to start doing what you want or need to do now. Not next month, not next week, not tomorrow. But now.
Start ideating, prioritizing, and planning. Take the first steps. Even if that’s for 20 minutes. The goal is to build productive habits.
Create TODO lists
Have three TODO lists: “Must do,” “Should do,” and “Want to do.” Execute tasks from those lists according to your priorities and energy levels.
Don’t waste your time on “wants” if your “musts” are not done yet.
Break big tasks into smaller chunks
Sometimes your tasks are so huge that you just get overwhelmed and perplexed. Where should you start? How can you plan and estimate?
The trick here is to split the big task into smaller ones and evaluate them separately.
Find your prime biological time
Identify your most productive time of day. Maybe it’s your mornings, maybe afternoons, or maybe nights.
It’s your Power Hours that you should use for the most critical or creative work.
Schedule daily work time in blocks
Split your days into segments and dedicate those segments to different types of work. For example, 13:30 – 15:00 is for writing and replying to emails.
Do only one thing at a time. Don’t switch contexts. You will be more productive, focussing on only one type of work at a time.
Gamify your work
Try not to break a chain by working on something for a regular time daily. For example, building something for 1 hour every day.
Or, if you have some tedious tasks to do, decide on some point system to reward yourself for a certain amount of completed tasks.
Choose peace, not conflict
When communicating, aim to be calm, understanding, and harmonious. Unnecessary conflicts just drain your energy and make you less than productive.
Usually, complicated people are so because of their difficult pasts. So be aware of that, and it will help you be more peaceful.
Have an accountability partner
Struggling on your dreams alone might be difficult. There are a million reasons not to do something you wish to have done. The tiredness after the primary job, wishing to spend time with your friends or family, exciting TV show, or a new series on Netflix.
Don’t make excuses, and have a friend to talk with about your progress. This will make you more inspired and accountable against that person.
Control your devices
Don’t fall into the trap of digital devices. Instead, make smartphones, computers, and TV work for you, not control you.
Switch off most notifications not to distract you. Then, when you need more focus, go to Airplane mode.
Install apps that let you prioritize, plan your time, focus better.
Focus on the 20% most important tasks
The Pareto principle says that by doing just 20% of the most critical tasks, you can achieve 80% of the impact.
Identify which tasks make this 20% of your lists and focus on them.
Work hard on your mindset
Life is as finite and fatal as you define it. You can have a fixed mindset, thinking that you have developed during your childhood and youth, and nothing can be changed afterward.
Or you can be in a growth mindset thinking that you can continuously develop yourself, survive mistakes and learn from them, and work on life-changing projects.
Hold yourself accountable – drive your own life
Don’t wait for someone else to fix your life and make your dreams come true. Be the driver of your own life.
Design your life, take action, and go forward!
There is more to that. If you learned something new and want to dive deeper, check these concise productivity tips I recently published. There are many more tips there (80 to be exact) for your goal setting, motivation, self-awareness, priorities, planning, efficiency, and growth.
Some decisions in business can be made based on intuition and emotion. Still, the more risk we have to manage or the bigger our ambition, the more critical it is to make decisions intelligently. When we have to solve a big problem, one of the rational ways is to divide it into small parts and deal with each of them separately. When we have a mattering list of things to prioritize, it’s beneficial to look at it from different perspectives, evaluate it by several criteria while respecting common knowledge and your values, and then combine the results into calculated conclusive priorities.
“1st things 1st” is an innovative online tool to do that easily without struggle nor paralysis by analysis. In this article, you will grasp how you can use it to advance your business. With “1st things 1st,” you evaluate anything by multiple criteria and get your priorities calculated, sorted, and grouped into those “to choose for sure,” those “to consider,” and those “to skip, eliminate, or outsource.” Let’s look at 10 examples, how you can benefit from this tool in your business.
1. Weekly Planning
When you consider prioritizing, you usually think about weekly or daily tasks. Spending 20-30 minutes every Sunday to plan what needs to be done for the next week is an advisable habit to have.
Using “1st things 1st”, before anything else, you would define your task criteria, like:
How urgent is it?
How important is it?
Is it unavoidable?
How manageable is it to accomplish?
How impactful is it?
Is it ethically, socially, ecologically responsible?
Does it make money or reduce costs?
Does it make your clients happy?
Does it bring new customers?
Does it remove bottlenecks in your business processes?
Does it motivate you?
Does it support your company’s goals?
Then you would enter your TODO list and evaluate your tasks by your defined criteria.
The online tool would calculate and sort your tasks by your priorities.
If you are using the Premium account, you can also enter time estimations and budget for each task and see how many tasks you can afford to get done that week.
2. Setting Quantitative Goals
But as you know, doing work without having goals is like traveling without a map: it might quickly use up all your resources, and nothing much will be achieved on the way. Businesses should have goals, and these can also be prioritized. It’s recommended to have SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-phased.
To prioritize goals with “1st things 1st”, you would define your goal criteria, like:
How specific is it?
How measurable is it?
How attainable is it?
How realistic is it?
How time-phased is it?
How ethical is it?
How environmentally sound is it?
How relevant is it for your business?
How challenging is it?
Is it legal?
and so on…
Then you would enter your list of goal candidates and evaluate them.
Your goals will get sorted by your priorities. It is recommended to use no more than 3–7 goals to pursue.
If you are using the Premium account, you can also enter time estimations and budget for each goal and see how many goals you can afford to achieve in a period.
3. Choosing Strategic Outcome-oriented Goals
Your business can focus on one of many strategic business goals. For example, you could aim to get more profit, provide the most value, have the happiest clients, increase recycling, improve a particular skill, or maybe make your workplace the best place to work at. The list could go on. But how could you prioritize it?
You would start prioritizing with “1st things 1st” by defining questions about each of your goals, like these:
How much does it support your mission and vision?
How much does it support your core values?
How much does it optimize your strengths?
How much does it compensate for or eliminate your weaknesses?
How much does it help you plan ahead for deadlines?
How much does it help you allocate job roles?
How much does it help you stay on track for your project goals?
How much does it maximize efficiency?
How much does it help you allocate resources?
How much measurable is it?
Then you would list your goal candidates, for example:
Ensure financial sustainability
Grow sales from new products
Provide the best value for the cost
Provide reliable products or services
Have the most innovative products or services
Differentiate the product
Reduce waste by a certain amount
Reduce energy usage per unit of production
Improve reporting and transparency
After evaluating strategic goals by your criteria, you would see them sorted by how much they match the requirements. And it would be crystal clear what to aim for.
4. Choosing a Brand Name
When you introduce a new product to the market, it’s crucial to choose its name well. How you name a brand has a lot of influence on how people perceive it and buy it.
Using “1st things 1st,” you would begin prioritizing your options for brand names by setting success criteria, for example,
How short is it?
How simple is it?
How much does it suggest a category of products?
How unique is it ?
How alliterative is it (does it rhyme)?
How speakable is it?
How shocking is it ?
How personalized is it?
How easy is it to spell?
Do all shareholders like it?
How well does it sound together with a company name?
Doesn’t it have any negative associations?
Does it have a nice meaning?
Is it ethnically appropriate?
and so on…
Then you would list your brand name candidates and evaluate them by these criteria.
The prioritizer would calculate and show you the priorities sorted out. Then it’s straightforward to pick the best one.
Moreover, similarly, you could choose a name for your company.
5. Choosing Marketing Strategies
When you have a product, one of the puzzles is to decide how to best market it. There could be many marketing tactics and strategies, like updating a website, regularly posting on certain social media accounts, recruiting guest bloggers, creating contests, doing A/B testing of specific widgets, advertising on certain platforms, using affiliate programs, developing introductory videos, writing cold emails, etc. To choose your most optimal marketing strategy, you have to prioritize.
With “1st things 1st”, in the beginning, you would define success criteria for your marketing strategies, something like:
How likely does it aim at your target market?
How likely does it support your niche?
How much does it develop brand awareness?
How much does it build credibility?
How much does it maintain focus?
How accessible is it for the customers?
How measurable is it?
How much can it be analyzed?
How ethical is it?
How innovative is it?
How much value does it provide for its cost?
How skillful are you to use this strategy?
Then you would list the options for marketing strategies, for example:
Do A/B testing.
Refine ad targeting.
Personalize website content.
Create more engaging ad copy.
Add compelling design elements.
Improve website speed.
Develop editorial content for content sharing.
Regularly post on the Facebook page.
Regularly post on the LinkedIn feed.
and so on…
After evaluating individual options by each criterion, you would have an overview of which strategies to choose, which to consider, and which to skip.
6. Choosing Innovative Technologies
Would you agree that to keep up with innovations and keep your customers engaged, you need to upgrade your products and services from time to time? Blockchain, Internet of Things, drones, 5G connection, and other novelties never sleep. So which of the new technologies should be integrated into your business?
With “1st things 1st,” you can figure that out by asking these questions at the beginning:
How relatable is it to our business?
How high impact would it make for our business?
How cost-effective is it?
Then you would list the innovative technologies, like:
Internet of Things
After answering those questions for each technology, you would clearly see what’s worth pursuing.
7. Choosing a Software Solution
When you have to evaluate and choose one of several software products of the same category for your company, “1st things 1st” can help you with that too.
In the beginning, you would list out success criteria for the winning software solution. These criteria could work:
The size of the user community
Then you would list out your 2 or more software solutions that you want to compare and choose from.
After evaluating each option by each criterion, you would immediately see which of the systems to choose.
8. Choosing Productivity Tools
Or, let’s say, you need to choose a productivity tool to improve your and your team’s productivity and get everything better organized. You could prioritize productivity tools by matching the benefits and features as well.
With “1st things 1st”, at first you would define your criteria, maybe something from this list:
Does it get me organized?
Does it improve habits?
Does it increase focus?
Does it save time?
Does it save money?
Is it easy to start?
Is it easy to learn?
Is it worth the price?
Is it effective?
Is it highly recommended?
Does it have all the necessary features?
Is it available on mobile devices?
Is it available on desktop computers?
Does it integrate with other tools I use?
Is it accessible?
Is it collaborative?
Is the user interface intuitive?
Is there an offline mode?
Can it be synced across devices?
Is it affordable?
Is it fast?
Is it mature?
Do you like it?
Does it offer technical support?
Is it made by a reputable company?
You get the idea.
Then you would list out the productivity tools:
1st things 1st
Pen and paper
and so on…
After evaluating each of your options from each perspective, you would have a clear view of what to start using in your daily workflows.
9. Choosing an Office Location
One of the essential material choices to make is choosing an office space to rent. Here you can also look at your choices from different perspectives and let “1st things 1st” help you decide.
At first, you would define your criteria for your best office location. These could be some examples:
Can our clients get there without a hassle?
Can our employees get there easily?
Can we afford to pay a three-month rent deposit on this office right now?
Are all the costs transparent?
Is the office space furnished?
Is the office space not overpriced?
Will there be at least 6.5 m² of floor space per person?
Is there enough room to grow the team?
Is there a dedicated space for meeting with clients?
Will our employees be happy with their social and recreation areas?
Is there 24/7 access?
Does it have a kitchen?
Does it have a shower?
Is the space pet-friendly?
Is the WIFI available?
Are cleaning services available?
and so on…
Then you would list the addresses of office spaces to rent that are interesting to you.
After evaluating each office by each criterion, you would clearly see which of the locations most suit to your company.
10. Choosing a Coworking Space
Similarly, if you work remotely, in a small team, or alone, you might like to choose a coworking space to rent. Without a doubt, you can use “1st things 1st” to prioritize these options too.
These could be some of the features that you would expect from an ideal coworking space:
Are there enough desks for the number of people you need?
Is the internet available?
Is a phone available?
Are mailboxes available?
Are there meeting rooms?
Is there a reception?
Are there phone booths?
Is there a quiet place for meditation?
Is there a bike rack?
Are there showers available?
Is the space accessible for a wheelchair?
Is the kitchen available?
Are there cleaning services?
Is there enough light?
Is there a coffee machine?
Are there fridges for your own food?
Are drinks or snacks available?
The questions could go on…
Then you would list the addresses of coworking spaces to rent that are interesting to you.
After evaluating your options by each of those questions, you would clearly see what to choose.
Whether you prioritize immaterial things like tasks, goals, or strategies, or material things like office spaces, tools, or technologies, you can use “1st things 1st” to make business decisions intelligently by looking at your options from different perspectives. Let your essential choices not be driven just by emotion and spontaneity but instead by common knowledge, your values, and your rationality. Let your decisions be smart. And with “1st things 1st,” you can do that quite easily.
“Most people spend more time planning a vacation than they do planning a life.”
― Chet Holmes
When choosing your future, some of your decisions will have long-lasting effects and can lead to lots of success or disappointments, whereas some others will be valid only for a day or two, so why bother about them too much. You could follow the Pareto principle saying that for 80% of the effect, you will need 20% of effort, so you should identify the 20% of what’s long-term and act on it. Let’s explore which decisions are short-term and which are long-term.
Short-term decisions are usually triggered by life events and news and are often made based on emotions. Short-term considerations could be caused by fear of missing out or worry about what other people will think about you. On the other hand, they can be spontaneous, playful, opportunistic, open-minded as well.
Things to do during the day. Unless it’s some life event like a birthday party, wedding, job interview, conference talk, or a show, you usually won’t need lengthy preparation.
What to wear. Why spend too much time thinking about what to wear on a regular day? Instead, just choose something that matches together, fits the weather, suits the occasion, and is comfortable.
What to eat. Choose whatever you like or are used to unless you are on a special diet.
What music to listen to. Listen to what follows your mood or supports the mood you would like to get into.
What presents to give to your friends, family, lovers. Most of the celebrations in life are recurring and relatively frequent. So surprise your people with something spontaneous.
What TV programs or movies to watch. Choose whatever seems essential or entertaining to you.
What galleries or museums to visit. Take opportunities to see whatever interesting exhibitions are open in your city or the city you visit.
As a proverb says, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”
Long-term decisions are usually based on personal philosophy of life. You use logic and strategies to direct your energy towards growth. Otherwise, your life will likely stagnate or destroy you, and you will have lots of regrets about living conditions.
Where to live. Your living location and conditions will have an effect on your solitude or social life, career, love life, speed and rhythm of daily routine, etc. You can choose to live with your relatives, in a shared apartment with flatmates, in a dormitory, in a rented or owned apartment, house, or villa. And all that will have different outcomes on your future life.
What to study. Your job opportunities, quality of life, and overall happiness in your life will depend on what you learn at University, College, Academy, or Professional School. Will you study something that you are interested in or something that your parents were impressed about? Will you learn something that you are passionate about, something that the market demands, or something in between?
Where to work. Will you work for survival, self-expression, self-fulfillment, or a local or global mission? It all depends on what job you will choose and how it matches your personality. Will, each of your employment, be the basis for your following ones, or will they be just a waste of career experience while searching for your field?
What name to give to your baby. In my life, I’ve met people who hated their first or last names because those names made them difficult to reach the expectations they had from life. Not in all countries, it is possible to change your name. So when choosing a name for your newborn, choose wisely.
What name to give to your company, product, or service. Just as for the baby name, the name of your business can also have a long-lasting effect. Especially if you care not only about the sales but also about your company’s branding and distant future.
What goals to aim for. You can have many passions in life and lots of possible directions to go with your life. But which of those directions is the most optimal for your character, skills, and needs?
What’s your main reason for living. Why were you born on this planet? What’s the purpose of your life? These existential questions are definitely long-term and require deep self-analysis.
“Maturity is achieved when a person postpones immediate pleasures for long-term values.”
– Joshua L. Liebman
Some decisions can either be quick and spontaneous or thoughtful and logical depending on what kind of person you are:
What events, conferences, or festivals to go to. Are you going to different gatherings for entertainment or getting information and resources for your projects?
What books to read. Are you reading books to have rest or to get knowledge for your career and self-development?
What podcasts to listen to. Do you listen to podcasts to fill your silence with chitchat or to learn something valuable and inspirational for life?
What country to visit for vacation. Do you choose your traveling spontaneously, or do you have a bucket list for life?
What newspapers or magazines to subscribe to. Do you read whatever is popular or what supports your knowledge for lifestyle or career?
What theatre plays to watch. Do you go to theaters to have a good time or to widen your viewpoint?
If you consider that your time is limited, you will probably try to save it by choosing what goes along with your values and goals. You will visit events, read books, and listen to podcasts useful for your primary activities. On the other hand, if you consider that your time is limitless, you will make decisions based on what feels right at the moment: you will go to events that will seem attractive, shocking, or inspiring. You will read books that entertain you much. You will listen to podcasts where the people seem most charismatic or grounded according to your preferences or where the topics seem interesting to you.
How to solve short or long-term decisions?
You can make short-term decisions using intuition, common sense, or randomness. For example, it doesn’t really matter so much what exactly you gonna wear today at work. What matters more is what clothes you buy to wear for work. It doesn’t really matter what dish you are going to try today. What matters more is what diet you are going to take in your life. It doesn’t matter too much what song you will listen to today at your lunch break. What matters more is in what mood and mindset your playlists are going to put you into.
When it comes to short-term decisions, choose what inspires you or solves a problem.
When it comes to long-term decisions, it’s better to weigh the options before making a decision. And for this reason, the most valuable tool to do that is probably the strategic prioritizer “1st things 1st”. Half an hour of prioritizing with “1st things 1st” can save you from months or even years of frustration and regrets. “1st things 1st” lets you make the most optimal decisions based on your knowledge and intuition.
This is how it goes. First, you start prioritization by defining your success criteria. Second, you list out things to prioritize. Third, you rate each item by each measure. And lastly, the tool calculates your priorities and groups them into something to choose for sure, things to consider, and things to eliminate or skip. It’s as easy as that.
Managers in big corporations like Amazon, Virgin, and Facebook use a particular problem-solving approach. Whenever they face a decision to make, at first, they determine if that decision is a two-way door decision or a one-way door decision. Two-way door decisions are cheap. You can try them, see if they work, and get back to the starting point in case of failure. One-way door decisions are harsh. They are related to significant risks and things that you can’t reverse. And even if you do get back, you will never be at the same point where you started. One-way decisions require thorough considerations and should never be rushed.
Corporations are corporations, but can we use this decision-making approach in our own daily lives? Absolutely. Have a look at several custom-tailored examples of how you could make one-way decisions.
A choice to be made for a life explorer
You like adventures. Going to concerts and festivals is in your blood. You feel best when socializing with friends and making new connections. But there is one small problem: you can’t decide whether to get yourself the first tattoo you want or skip. When you have a tattoo, there is no way back. Or at least not an easy way.
So you have two choices, so far:
Get a tattoo.
Keep your body tattoo-free.
Think about your values?
Would the tattoo reflect your original personality? Or would the tattoo-free body reflect your personality more?
In 30 years, would you regret more about making a tattoo on your body? Or would you regret more that you decided not to make a tattoo at this time?
Do your health conditions support a tattoo? Or would your health conditions support a clean body more?
Would your body look more aesthetic with a tattoo or without it?
Would you feel more fulfilled with a tattoo or without it?
Does your profession allow you to have a tattoo, or unfortunately not?
Will your friends and relatives support you more with a tattoo or without it?
The list could go on.
Evaluate your choices by all those different criteria. Then sum up the advantages of each approach. And here, you will get a clear picture of whether to have a nonvanishing sign on your skin or rather have plain mundane skin.
A choice to be made for an artist
You are creative. Your head is always full of visuals. Your imagination is rich. You always are ahead with new ideas. But here you go: you need to choose a theme for your next collection. If you do it wrong, you might lose a lot of your followers. Your reputation can be ruined. You won’t be accepted in the most significant exhibition houses anymore.
So you have several themes that you like:
Things people carry every day
Street art metamorphosis
Retrospective on children psychology
Art therapy for anger management
Think of how you wanna be remembered in your old age.
Think about each of your ideas, how they will match your expectations about yourself.
Will the collection about “Green living” make you influential? What about impactful? Will you be considered mysterious if you choose this theme? Can it make you financially safe?
When you evaluate each of your themes by each quality you want to achieve, you will have a clear picture of your topic.
A choice to be made for an NGO fundraiser:
As an NGO fundraiser working for an ecological cause, you have to choose a crowdfunding platform which you will communicate on your website, social media, and press releases. Once the news is out, you can’t get them back. But there are so many crowdfunding platforms to choose from. It’s confusing. Which of them is the best? How not get lost in decision-making fatigue?
Should you choose one of the dinosaurs like Kickstarter, Indiegogo, or GoFundMe? Should you go with the plain good PayPal? Or should you make use of one of the new platforms like Kindful, Handbid, Sodality.app, Fundly, Qgiv, 360MatchPro, Donately, Classy, CoinUp, Fundraise Up, RaiseDonors, GivingFuel, you name it? How not get lost in paralysis by analysis?
Think of some criteria which are essential for choosing your crowdfunding platform. Something like these would work:
Is your category supported on that platform?
Can you keep what you collected even if you didn’t reach the goal?
Are the transaction fees low?
Is the platform fee low or even none?
Is the monthly fee low or even none?
Are there giving levels with presents for the donations to motivate the donors?
How customizable is your fundraising profile?
Is the platform well known in your country?
Do your research. Answer those questions for each of your platforms. Then sum up the results and see which of the platforms got the most points.
A choice to be made for a project manager
The company you are working at has already gained some traction. Several different potential clients have reached out wanting to get your services. But your resources are limited, and you can only serve 2 or 3 of them at a time. Which of them should you choose? Once you establish a connection, you have to stick with it: the projects and the clients will be listed in your portfolio, web searches, press, etc.
Do you have a vision of an ideal client? Think of some criteria for choosing your best clients. For example, some of them could be:
How much are your goals shared?
How much do you respect that client?
How much do you believe in their brand?
How much do they respect what you do?
How much those clients fit your culture and ways of communication?
How willing are you to work on their project?
How competent is your company to work with this client’s needs?
How much are those clients ready to pay for the quality instead of just costs?
How much is it likely to form long-term collaborations with this client?
Anything more to add?
Evaluate each of those questions for each client with a number from 1 (very unlikely) to 5 (very likely). Then sum up the points for each client and see your winners.
A choice to be made for a frontend engineer
Start with the criteria:
Is that framework trending this year?
Has it been growing on Google trends?
Does it feel familiar?
Is it simple to start with?
Is the documentation clear and extensive?
Do you like the coding principles in that framework?
Are there enough StackOverflow answers about that framework?
Is there a friendly and helping community behind the framework?
Are there enough jobs using this framework in your city, country, or remotely?
Does this framework has enough Github stars?
Add more criteria if you consider something is missing.
Do some googling, read some articles, do what you need, and answer those questions for each of your frameworks. Then sum up your yeses, and here you have the answer!
A choice to be made for a startup founder
You have produced an app and bootstrapped a company, the sales are happening, you have a stable income, but you want to scale it now and need some extra money for the new hires and marketing. Which financing option should you choose – that’s a question.
Should you fund yourself with money from your family?
Should you seek venture capital?
Could an Angel investor help you?
Should you rely on funding-based investment companies?
Would you consider crowdfunding?
Or is crowdinvesting a better option?
Should you get a bank loan?
What about getting a grant?
Are you in Europe and would like to get European Union funding?
Which of those financing options are best for your business?
Let’s start with the criteria. By what criteria could you evaluate your financing options? My hint would be those:
How likely can your business afford this type of financing?
How likely is your time in business appropriate for getting this type of financing?
How likely can you get the required amount from this type of financing?
How likely will your credit history allow this type of financing?
How much is this financing option based on your chosen financing form (debt or equity)?
How likely will the economic period (current growth or recession) allow this type of financing?
How much do you like the lender or investor?
Would you add anything else?
Evaluate each financing option from each perspective with likeliness points from 1 (very unlikely) to 5 (very likely). Then sum up the points for each option, and you’ll get the winners.
If you are tired of Excel sheets and pen and paper are too limiting, I invite you to try and use the strategic prioritizer “1st things 1st“. There you can evaluate things by multiple criteria and get your priorities sorted out.
With the tool, you can evaluate your things with yes or no answers or gradually. Also, you can set different weights for different criteria if some of them are more important to you.
Some decisions we make in our lives are reversible. People call them “two-way door decisions.” But other decisions have a major impact on your life and work, and you cannot easily get back to the point where you started. These are called “one-way door decisions.”
When you face a one-way door decision, you can’t act spontaneously and have to evaluate your choices from all the different perspectives.
To do that efficiently, you can make use of strategic prioritizer “1st things 1st”. See you there!
I am an intuitive thinker! I don’t like overanalyzing or changing my mind too often. The first choice that I make usually gets the most power. I trust my gut feeling. But sometimes there are choices to make, which depend on too many variables. I used to be lost in such cases. Some options have some benefits; others have other advantages. How can I make the right choice when I have multiple decisions depending on several criteria? Nowadays, for long-term multidimensional decisions, I use the strategic prioritizer “1st things 1st”. I will describe its formula in this article.
How would you use the “1st things 1st”?
Strategic prioritizer “1st things 1st” lets you bring multidimensional priorities to light. It allows you to make intuitive decisions for each criterion and uses a formula (that I will describe in a moment) to calculate the priorities:
At first, you define your criteria.
Then you list out things to prioritize (for example, activities).
Then you rate each thing by each criterion.
At last, you explore your calculated priorities.
Relative weights of criteria
Each criterion has a relative weight in percentage. By default, these weights are spread evenly. For example, if you have 4 criteria, each of them will have a weight of 25% – the sum of relative weights is always 100%.
Just recently, a possibility to adjust the relative weights was added to the prioritizer. If we look at the project about finding your Ikigai which was the first prioritization example in this blog, you can decide to give the criterion “Am I good at it?” a lower relative weight (10%) than “Do I love doing it?” (30%), “Can I be paid for it?” (30%), and “Does the world need it?” (30%). Because practice makes perfect, and the skills can be gained over time.
Whether you evaluate the things by each criterion with yes/no answers, probabilities, stars, or percentages, behind the scenes they are all saved as numbers between 0.0 and 1.0 and can be represented as percentages between 0% and 100%.
“1st things 1st” uses the weighted average formula to calculate the priorities.
To see how much a thing matches all of your criteria, you would sum all criterion weights multiplied by corresponding evaluations:
A = w1 × e1 + w2 × e2 + w3 × e3 + w4 × e4
No worries, you don’t need to calculate anything yourself. You just do the ratings, and all the computations are delegated to the computer – that’s what computers are for.
Here is an Excel template laying out the calculations:
Our example with Finding Ikigai would look like this:
As you can see from the last column named “Match”, programming, writing, teaching, and driving a car would be among my top priorities. Even when I can’t drive. Yet.
When making decisions, sometimes you can trust your intuition and the first thought that comes to your mind. And sometimes, the decision has to be analyzed and calculated. Why not leave those calculations to the computer? “1st things 1st” does that for you very well.