Let’s talk about how to prioritize our work to get the right things done and to become very productive. One of the things that I’ve learned in business is that there are only a few things that matter. If you only worked on those few things, you would get very, very strong, very, very profitable results. If you don’t do those few things, then you’re going to get horrible results. Now, because most of us are distracted, and we’re interrupted, and we’ve got a lot of things on our minds, and we’ve got a big list of To Dos, it’s sometimes not easy to remember to just take a minute and ask, “What are the important things?” When we do take a minute to ask, “What are the important things?” sometimes, we don’t have tools that allow us to value the different things on the list and to get the important things to the top. I’m going to give you a couple of tools right now.
The first tool is what I call my productivity pyramid. The simple way to use this tool is to start, take a blank piece of paper, and draw a triangle or a pyramid, and break it into four levels. The bottom level – inside of the bottom level, write, “Zero value or negative value.” The second level, write, “Low dollar per hour activities.” The next level up or the second level from the top, label that, “High dollar per hour activities.” Then, the top, the capstone of the pyramid, that’s, “High lifetime value activities.”
Now, zero value or negative value, these are things that you do that literally have no value or they may have negative value. These would be things like gossiping or complaining or eating junk food because you feel like you have low energy. They’re things that actually bring no value or possible they’re counterproductive. They have negative value.
The second level, which is low dollar per hour activities, this would be all of the administrative work that you do. Like if you’re mailing out several pieces of mail: if you’re writing the address and putting the stamps on the envelope and bringing them to the post office. This is low dollar per hour activity. This might be $10.00 or $20.00 per hour activities.
The next level, which is high dollar per hour activities, this is where it starts to get really interesting because this is where you’re doing things that are actually creating results very quickly that bring in money or bring in value to you and your business. A typical example might be talking to a customer who’s interested in buying something from you. That would be maybe considered a sales call or a sales conversation because if it results in a sale or a customer buying something, that brings in a lot of money right now.
Now, at the pinnacle or the capstone, this is high lifetime value activities. These are actually the most valuable activities that you can do. As it turns out, they’re the things that we usually don’t do because they’re not that urgent. Stephen Covey, in his four-quadrant time management system, he talks about these. These are really part of the Quadrant 2 – things that are important, but they’re not really urgent. Things that if you do them consistently over time, they build a lot of value. They build a big foundation for value creation and income, but because they’re long-term projects, and they require a lot of investment, we don’t get around to them.
In our personal lives, things like exercise and creating a diet plan that really works. These are high lifetime value activities. They pay dividends for life. In the business sphere, some of the high lifetime value activities would be creating a new product or a new service that’s going to be sold capstone project writing service over and over and over again. Another high lifetime value activity might be creating a marketing piece or something that you’re going to give away to customers to entice them and get them to check out your business. This video right here is a high lifetime value activity for me because thousands and thousands of people will watch this over the coming years. They’ll learn about my products and services, and they will come and visit me. It has high lifetime value.
What I’d like you do is make a pyramid for yourself, and list out the things that you do every day, all the typical things that you do. What are the things that have zero or negative value? What are the things that have low dollar per hour value? What are the things that have high dollar per hour value? And then, what are the things that have high lifetime value? And just by looking at them, by seeing them and understanding their relationship to each other, that’ll create some awareness, and it’ll have a click, and it’ll let you know which things to prioritize at the top of the list every day because those are the things that bring you high lifetime value and high dollar per hour value.
Now, the next thing I’d like to teach you is a concept that took me a long time to realize. In business, there are only three things that really ring the cash register, increase the value of your business, create value for others and actually make you a lot of money long term. Those three things are products, marketing and relationships. Let me say them again. Products, marketing and relationships. These are big categories, and obviously, a lot more than just products fits in the products bin because it can be products, it can be services. It can be an integration of the two. Things that you’re going to sell are what I’m talking about. Marketing is all of the marketing and sales activities that you do. Things to bring in customers, and maybe you might consider good customer service in there because in a lot of ways, good customer service is good marketing.