There are times when we find ourselves having a lot of our plates. We find ourselves working tirelessly, only to turn around to see that there's more work to be done.
One of the most self-sabotaging mindsets in business is that it's more efficient and effective to do everything alone instead of accepting help or delegating work to others. Maybe there is a preconceived notion that we can get the task done better or faster. Whatever the reasons are, we will more than likely, find ourselves in a bind, coming up short, or burned out.
Most importantly, some or all these tasks may not properly align with our skill sets. If doing them does not bring us joy, they may keep or distract us from creating, contributing, and focusing on where we may be of better use.
How do we prioritize tasks, and how do we determine what we should delegate to others? Harvard Business Review presented a framework of 4-quadrants. The structure is based on two essential criteria:
Contribution: How am I aligning my greatest strengths, experience, and capabilities to what my organization needs?
Passion: What fuels me, inspires me, and motivates me? What opportunities inspire me to do my best?
Quadrant I: Prioritize those areas of your job that hit this sweet-spot intersection of bringing your highest value-add and making an impact that you feel excited about. Look at the answers to the two questions above and see which projects, initiatives, and activities show up on both your high contribution and high passion lists.
Quadrant II: Tolerate those parts of the role that are important but drain your energy when you're engaging in them. What are the possible discomforts, and what can you do about them?
Tolerate and accept that you aren't going to love every part of the job. For example, you may be excited about having a more significant role and team but less enthusiastic about the increase in managerial processes and administration that come with it. Tolerate the fact that you may be on a learning curve.
Quadrant III: Elevate those tasks that give you a lot of energy against those that others don't see as the best use of your time. Where are the possible points of elevation?
Elevate the value-add. Perhaps you see a hot new area, but the impact is less clear to others. Share what you see out on the horizon that fuels your conviction, and explain why it's okay not only for you but also for the company.
Ultimately, if the disconnect grows between what keeps you motivated and what your organization values, it may be time to move on.
Quadrant IV: Delegate the daily churn of low-value and low-energy-producing activities, emails, and meetings. If there's no one to delegate to, make a case for hiring someone. You can also say no, or eliminate those tasks.
With the daily tasks that go into running a business, we will continually find ourselves dabbling in functions that are best handled by someone else. When and if possible, pass them along to people who have the skill-sets and know-how to get the job done. After all, if we don't prioritize our tasks, some else will.