In Search of a Time Formula (Part 1)

[Blog Post #28 of the 21-Day Blog Post Challenge]

I need to solve a big problem.

How do I decide which ideas deserve my time?

I’ve been cursed and blessed with a curious mind and a little too much self-confidence. If I get an idea, I tend to run with it.

Most go nowhere, but when one idea gets traction, it often opens up the idea floodgates. And here’s where it gets tricky.

No matter how much more efficient I become with my time, I have to decide which ideas deserve focus and which get eliminated.

We all make decisions how to allocate our time, but we’re not aware of how we decide.

I recently heard Redfin’s CEO Glenn Kelman explain that he’ll often sort through big challenges by developing a formula.


I wonder if I can develop a formula to help me decide how to allocate my time?

I'll try, but it won’t be easy. (I never took a single math class in college.)

I suspect a logical first step is to identify the variables. Next step will be to assemble them into a meaningful formula.

However, I could use your help. Please check my work and tell me what I've missed.

Here are the variables that will determine if something new makes it to my to-do list.

T = Time. How many hours per month will this require?

VTS = Value to Self. Rate how much value I could derive from this effort. For example, improving my diet would have a high value.

VTO = Value to Others. Rate how much value others would benefit from my action. Advising friends on their social media strategy and implementation would provide high value to others.

QPV = Quantifiable Primary Value . This is binary. It’s either yes or no. Will the outcome of this effort be easy to quantify? Flipping a house will have a QPV because it will have a measurable outcome. I will either make money or lose money.

NQPV = Non-quantifiable Primary Value. This is also a yes or no answer. I wouldn’t assign a value to going on a motorcycle ride with my wife.

L = Leverage. Can I leverage my work? Yes or not. If I produced a product or improved a skill, can I use it again? When I taught Business Law at a community college, I spent at least three hours preparing for each class. If I teach it again, my prep time will be reduced by 80%. I'll leverage my earlier work.

S = Scalable. Can my work be scaled? If I write a series of articles for customers in my local market, I can turn the series into a template that can be used by agents in other markets.

VPA = Value of Primary Audience. Each effort will have a primary target audience and some will be more valuable than others. Although it won't be easy, I’ll need to assign a value to the audience. It could be an important client, someone I met at a networking event, a neighbor, a former student, a social media influencer, an executive in my company, or my kid.

PG = Personal Gratification. I will spend time on some projects primarily because it makes me feel good that I either helped others or accomplished an ambitious goal. For example, I derived tremendous personal gratification from teaching college students. That would have a high PG score.

That’s it.

Do these make sense? Am I on the right track?

The next step is writing the formula.

#happiness #timemanagement



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