One of the hardest problems for every entrepreneur is that there is always too much to do. At any given time there are at least five different things you could do — write code, do customer outreach, work on your pitch deck, develop your PR and marketing strategy… The list is endless.
I surely feel this pressure every day. I have a demanding day job (actually — three day jobs as I head up Singularity Universities startup programs, teach entrepreneurship and open innovation and represent SingularityU as our Global Evangelist), spearhead the Heretic community, co-run a large nonprofit (The Coaching Fellowship — see the P.S. below), sit on a couple of startup boards and do a ton of other stuff.
There are just not enough hours in the day to get everything done.
Which is why you need to master the art of triaging. The term “triage” stems from the medical profession where it describes the process of determining the priority of patients’ treatments based on the severity of their condition.
And this is precisely what you need to do with all those incoming requests and the pile of stuff you have sitting on your desk: Determine the priority of your work based on the impact it will have on your goals. And then do the things with the highest impact first. If that means you won’t get to do the things which don’t have high impact — so be it.
This requires for you to become super-clear about your goals first. Once you know — it’s a very quick assessment if something is worth doing, and worth doing now.
Reid Hoffman, founder of LinkedIn and Partner at the VC firm Greylock Partners, famously triages every incoming email — you either get a response within minutes or you never receive one, as it didn’t hit his importance threshold.
Why don’t you spend some time this weekend to triage your backlog?
P.S. Talking about The Coaching Fellowship — we just opened application to our next program. The Coaching Fellowship provides a comprehensive executive coaching program for young woman leaders in the world of social impact. Learn more here.