Impact Effort Matrix

Using an Impact Effort Matrix for Prioritization

I’ve got another matrix for you today that you can use to help prioritize what you should be working on – the Impact Effort Matrix. Just like the Eisenhower Matrix, the Impact Effort Matrix can be used to prioritize work on any level. Use it to prioritize your day, week, or month. Use it to prioritize all of the projects you’re considering. Use it to prioritize system improvements within your business. You could even use this to prioritize nice things you’re going to do for your partner or kids :).

The idea is simple. Similar to the Eisenhower Matrix, there are two attributes you are trying to rate about the work you are looking to prioritize.

How much effort is it going to take to do this thing?


What impact is this going to have on my system, business, life, etc.? (pick ONE that’s relevant for how you’re framing the tasks you’re prioritizing).

For the example, I put together a few business level tasks that a business might be thinking about today. For each activity, I’m going to rate the relative level of effort. I’m also going to identify what kind of impact I think completing the activity will have on my business.

Once I have all the activities laid out, I can start to prioritize what I’m going to work on.

Activities that are high impact and low effort are the first things you want to knock out. Because they are low effort, you should be able to do them rather quickly and get big benefits to your business.

In the example matrix, I would start with organizing Facebook ads for a product I just released.

Next, I would put together a plan/schedule to start working on activities that are high value but will take a higher level of effort. In our example, this would include looking at implementing a new CRM and Optimizing the Customer onboarding process.

Finally if there was some down time or I needed filler tasks, I would consider working on activities that have lower impact, but are also low levels of effort. In our example, that’s building a free tool.

Activities that are low impact and high level of effort usually aren’t worth doing, and you should not do them unless you can reframe them so they have a bigger impact.

Note that how you rate any activity is based on you, your resources, and your business. Something that is a low effort for you might be a high effort for me. Something that is low impact to your business might be a high impact to mine.

It’s also important to note that your own answers will shift over time. The activities that will have the biggest impact on your business 12 months from now are different than the activities that will have the biggest impact on your business today.

If you missed them, check out yesterday’s coverage of the Eisenhower Matrix here and the intro to this week’s topic, Task and Priority Management Systems here.

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