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The TODO Tool

Prioritizing Simplicity with the TO DO tool: An Effective Approach to Addressing Multiple Ideas or Tasks

Addressing a challenge with various solutions often raises the question of where to begin. Prioritizing and executing options in a systematic manner can provide valuable assistance. Similarly, having multiple challenges with no clear starting point can be a demanding task, requiring prioritization based on specific criteria. We need clear to do´s.

How does the TO DO tool work?

The TO DO tool begins with creating a graph with time (t) on the x-axis and difficulty/effort (d) on the y-axis. Every solution or task is represented by a bubble on the graph. Before placing the bubble, consider the following criteria:

1. Time spent (T, Time) – How long will it take to implement the solution or start the task? The more time the solution or task needs, the more to the left it´s bubble will be positionend on the x-axis.

2. Effect/result size (O, Outcome) – How impactful is the effect or result? This is indicated by the size of the bubble.

3. Difficulty (D, Difficulty) – How challenging will it be to implement the solution or tacke the task? The more effort it requires, the higher up the bubble will be on the y-axis.

4. Order (O, Order) – This is automatically determined.

New, place your bubbles in the graph.

Two examples

Tough choices

Jenny’s Challenge: Jenny is overwhelmed with numerous daily emails, meetings, conferences, and family responsibilities. Feeling stressed and pressed for time, she ponders how to bring more peace into her life and manage her tasks. Which of her ideas should she implement first?

Jenny’s Solutions:

1. Take a lunch break to get some fresh air.

2. Reduce coffee intake and drink more water.

3. Practice breathing exercises regularly with a set alarm.

4. Leave on time to pick up kids and spend quality time with them.

5. Delegate more tasks.

Startup’s Challenge: A startup team faces numerous tasks during a team meeting, needing to decide where to start.

Startup’s Tasks:

1. Better prepare meetings with stakeholders.

2. Prioritize projects.

3. Introduce a feedback culture.

4. Plan fun team-building activities.

5. Build marketing and social media systematically.

6. Optimize processes (recruiting, reporting, controlling).

The TO DO tool assists in assessing the time needed to implement solutions or start tasks (T = Time), the productivity of the solutions or tasks (O = Outcome), and the level of effort required (D = Difficulty). It also automatically determines the best order (O = Order) for implementation. The tool follows the principle of “picking the low-hanging fruit first,” i.e., starting with the quickest and easiest ideas. Similarly, for multiple tasks or challenges, this tool can identify the quickest and easiest task to start with.

How do Jenny and the startup prioritize?

Jenny’s Plan: Jenny plans to directly implement solutions 1-3, indicated at the bottom left of her graph, as they require quick and easy implementation. Solutions 4-5 would be highly beneficial but are more challenging to implement.

Startup’s Plan: The startup team chooses tasks 1-4 from the lower-left area of the graph to address first, as they are the least time-consuming and difficult. They aim to delve into topics 5-6 in more detail once they have initiated work on 1-4.

Handling multiple solutions, ideas, problems, or tasks can be daunting for individuals and teams. This tool helps differentiate based on specified criteria, leading to effective learning and problem-solving processes. Addressing solutions incrementally and adding more as needed can result in overcoming challenges. The TO DO tool can be applied in both professional and personal contexts, providing guidance in various scenarios. Try it out and discover your TO DO!

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