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Not sure what option to move forward with next? Use an impact-effort matrix to help you make your decision.

Life and business are full of options. At times, unfortunately, the number of options can be overwhelming. There are many ways that you can make a decision, but one of my favorite methods to select the next step in my business is using an impact-effort matrix.

An impact-effort matrix compares your options on two attributes:

  • Effort: how much time and energy it will take to implement
  • Impact: the anticipated effect

To use the matrix you rate your options as high or low for each attribute.

Combining the ratings (high or low) with the attributes (effort and impact) creates four key categories - each category is a cell within the matrix (e.g., table). Once you place an option within a category, it gives you insights on what to do. The four resulting categories are:

  • High-impact, Low-effort: start with these ideas now - they are low hanging fruit and will provide significant returns for minimal effort.
  • High-impact, High-effort: plan these out for the future - although these options will also create large impacts, they will require a considerable amount of effort; make sure that you plan accordingly.
  • Low-impact, Low-effort: fit these in if you get the chance - these options are easy to complete, but the impact is minimal.
  • Low-impact, High-effort: avoid these options - the time that you put into these tasks is not work the benefits of completing them.

The straight-forward structure of the impact-effort matrix helps you quickly categorize your options and plan your next steps. Exciting!

You can use this tool to help you decide between options in and out of the workplace. In business, I've used this method to prioritize my blog post topics and the order I'm launching my new services. [It's important to notice that you can also use this method outside of the office - I've used it to prioritize my DIY renovation plans!] For more about this powerful tool (including a quick video), check out this website!

Here is an example of the full matrix (from / Matrix from The ToolKit Project

If you are looking for help to make a decision about the technology you use in your business, I recommend you book a Tech Talk With Ada!

photo of Ada Barlatt, Ph.D., P. Eng.
Author : Ada Barlatt, Ph.D., P. Eng.
Hi there! My name is Dr. Ada, and I'm your cheerful OperationsAlly! Since 2016, I've been helping small business owners use technology and automation to save time and boost their business revenues. If you feel overwhelmed, confused, or intimidated by the idea and process improving your launches - I am here for you! Learn more about Ada.


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