Sometimes you may find yourself doing so many things in one day that you actually lose track of what’s important and what isn’t.
That’s why I use a task prioritization chart that I take a look at every quarter or so. I want to keep track of what I’m actually working on every single day to see what I need to cut out, what I need to delegate, and where only I can make an impact.
My Task Prioritization Chart
Personally, I divide all of my tasks by expected ROI.
For example, I have a category for $10 per hour tasks, another for $100 per hour tasks, another for $1,000 per hour tasks, and finally one for $10,000 per hour tasks. These categorizations tell me how much I would have to pay someone else to get a specific task done right.
So if you find yourself doing $10 tasks when you’re running a six- or seven-figure business, you probably need to rethink your priorities. On the flip side, you probably don’t want to be delegating the $10,000 per hour tasks out to anyone—that’s where you could be making the biggest impact yourself.
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Things like cold calling, talking to unqualified prospects, doing expense reports, or scheduling social media probably shouldn’t be done by you. I know you see guys like Gary Vaynerchuk engaging on social media all the time, but that makes sense for Gary because he has branded himself as a social influencer.
When to Delegate and When to Do It Yourself
Think about the tasks that you do every single day. Whether you’re using a calendar or Evernote, look at what you’re doing every single day and then look at the last couple weeks. I have a daily to-do list and I’ll look back at last month or last quarter and realize, “Wow, I shouldn’t be working on this.”
As time goes on and your company grows, it’s your job to take more things off your plate and delegate it to other people. This is why companies hire other people. Your managers get stacked up with work, too. They need to hire people as well.
Hiring is one of the most important things you can do because you’re focusing on assigning each person in your company to their proper task category in order to maximize the ROI of human effort.
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Let’s look at $100 an hour tasks, like talking to qualified prospects, doing social media, managing pay-per-click campaigns, doing customer follow ups, and so on. Customer follow ups, for example, are super important, so you probably don’t want to categorize it as a $10 an hour task and delegate it out to someone who doesn’t do it right. You could, but your business might suffer as a result.
Now let’s look at $1,000 per hour tasks, like building your marketing or sales funnel. If you want to have a marketing automation sequence that is perfectly optimized, that’s a big undertaking and a big time commitment. But you know it’s worth it for you because it’s going to pay dividends down the road.
This is a task that you could do yourself if your company is smaller. Not only can you probably not afford to hire someone to do this, you definitely do not want to hire a $10 per hour or $100 per hour person to do a $1,000 per hour job.
Focus on the $10,000 per Hour Tasks
Finally, there are the $10,000 an hour tasks. If you’re making seven figures per year, these are the tasks that you and your partners, if you have any, should absolutely be focusing on.
- Writing sales copy, for example, might seem like a $100 per hour or $1,000 per hour tasks, but it can actually be a $10,000 per hour job. The best sales copywriters in the world sometimes charge $100,000 for a sales letter, for example.
- Innovation is also a $10,000 per hour task. What do I mean by innovation? Figuring out where the market is headed next before it gets there. Let’s take marketing, for example. What else is coming up in terms of technology? Artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and even drones. Think about the innovations in your industry and how you can jump on them and ride the wave before it breaks.
- There’s also client engagement. Interview your top clients to better understand their needs, challenges and frustrations. That’s on you as the leader of the company, at least in the early days. Ask questions like, “Hey, what can we do better? What did you like? What did you not like? Who else should we be talking to about this? Would you recommend our services or not?”
- Negotiating major win-win deals that benefit your top clients can also be a $10,000 per hour tasks, because they’re going to stay with you much longer in those cases.
- Finally, recruiting is huge. This is easily a $10,000 per hour task, at least in the early days for a company where you don’t have recruiters or HR people helping you. You’re going out there and hand-selecting people that will help shape the future of your company. You’re building your core team up to 20 people or so. You’re attracting and bringing on these top-performing team members. Eventually, you can hand it over to an HR operations person and the $10,000 an hour job may transition into a $100 an hour job.
A lot of these high-priority tasks are things that sometimes only you can do. For me, it could be throwing an event or a dinner, or interviewing people on my Growth Everywhere podcast.
Same thing with Marketing School—it has to be me personally doing this each time with Neil. Public speaking or podcasting requires me to actually be there in person to make the biggest impact.
But what I can probably start to offload are the live webinars that I do. Maybe somebody else can take that on. Maybe that becomes a $100 per hour task.
Planning, Prioritizing and Delegating
Once you’ve identified the $1,000 or $10,000 per hour tasks that you should be doing yourself, you want to make a game plan for how you’re going to tackle those tasks both on a daily basis and over time. If you need to have somebody else do that for you, like a project manager, then you’re basically out of control. You may no longer see the bigger picture.
On the other hand, the tasks that you’ve identified as able to be delegated, whether it’s a web development project or a new marketing campaign, you should absolutely not take on yourself, even if it is tempting. You need to find the right talent, give very specific instructions, and then take a big step back.
So try this out if you haven’t before. Create a task prioritization chart or matrix with $10, $100, $1,000, and $10,000 per hour categories. Prioritize your tasks and then share the document with your team as well so they know where you’re at and they know what you should be working on.
Remember, if you ever start to slip back into $10 per hour tasks such as project management and things like that, you need to get them off your plate immediately.
This post was adapted from Eric’s Facebook Live videos: Growth 90 – DAILY live broadcasts with Eric Siu on marketing and entrepreneurship. Watch the video version of this post: