Your New Fave Prioritization Philosophy

Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Action expresses priorities.”

No matter how fast you work or how much time you block off, chances are, you will not be able to act on every potential task or project life throws at you.

Prioritization is the key to sanity, the key to ensuring you take strategic action toward what truly matters. (If you can’t do it all, you might as well do the good stuff, right?)

These techniques will help you practice intentional productivity. Try a few different methods until you find one that speaks to you. 

A-B-C Method

  • Prioritization criteria:
    • Must do (A)
    • Should do (B)
    • Want to do (C)
  • How to: 
    • Bucket tasks into A, B, and C groups
    • Complete tasks in descending order
    • Archive “want to dos” that are 2+ days old (You clearly don’t want to do them that badly.)

Purpose-Driven Prioritization

  • Prioritization criteria:
    • Expected value
    • Expected cost
  • How to: 
    • List your tasks and projects
    • For each, divide the expected value (the bang) by the expected cost (the buck)
    • Use the result (your “bang-to-buck” ratio) to prioritize

Eat the Frog

  • Prioritization criteria:
    • Difficulty
    • Importance
  • How to: 
    • Pinpoint your hardest and most important tasks
    • Do those first
    • Work your way through everything else in descending order of difficulty and importance

Deep Work / Shallow Work

  • Prioritization criteria:
    • Effort required
    • Concentration required
  • How to: 
    • Pinpoint tasks that require the most effort and concentration
    • Spend the first half of your day on those
    • Spend the second half of your day knocking out repetitive tasks and busy work


  • Prioritization criteria:
    • Reach
    • Impact
    • Confidence
    • Effort
  • How to:  
    • List your tasks and projects
    • Assign numerical values (based on a 1-10 ascending scale) to each task’s: reach, impact, confidence, and effort
    • For each task, multiply the expected reach, impact, and confidence
    • Divide the result by the effort
    • Prioritize according to the resulting score
  • Tip!This formula was designed for product developers. If customers don’t factor into your day-to-day work, then simply remove the “reach” element of the equation.

Eisenhower Matrix

  • Prioritization criteria:
    • Urgency
    • Importance
  • How to:
  • Tip!You can use the same matrix structure to prioritize according to different criteria, such as impact and effort.



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