It is extremely difficult at times to decide between options in a business under stress. Decision making often is more complex as the business nears a critical impasse or cliff that may result in the company to shutting down. The stresses of survival day-to-day cause the mind to shift wildly from one task to the next while attempting to stay operational. Sometimes the number of tasks must be reduced to a more manageable set in order to apply maximal effort to the activities making the greatest payoff.
Stress and anxiety may complicate any decision. The fear of slowing or dropping a task in lieu of something else leaves one with the feeling of what happens if that would have worked. One way to modify the work load is to follow the flow listed below.
1. Make a list: Listing out all the tasks is essential. It is important to add to the list the time required and cost to complete. This information will help in the next steps.
2. Rank according to potential impact: This is where you decide if task completion will be a game changer or not. The greater the impact, the higher it should be on the list.
3. Review time and costs: A review of the time is not simply the time to complete the task; it includes the time you have left. For example, a business with 6 months of funding left taking should not work on a high value task that takes 1 year to complete, nor should it work on a task that cost more than the business can afford. Adjust tasks not you are unlikely to complete due to money or time downward on the list. The top tier tasks be those you can complete in the remaining time with the dollars available.
4. Limit the number of tasks: The listing, ranking and review will create an optimal order of those items you can complete in the remaining time with the resources available. It is often better to select one or two of the top items and focus the remaining attention and resources to completing those tasks. The goal is to get the greatest impact will help the company survive and grow again.
The process allows one to limit the anxiety contribution to the decision making and select just enough from the list to gain the best impact with remaining resources. As someone said recently, when standing on the edge of a cliff, you can jump or go a different direction. Both are decisions, but the analysis of the situation will tell you which has the best chances of yielding a positive result.
Taffy Williams is the author of: Think Agile: How Smart Entrepreneurs Adapt in Order to Succeed. He writes for the Startup Blog and Examiner Charlotte, NC- small business and is also found on LinkedIn, Twitter @twilli2861, ColonialTDC , photo website, Google+, Facebook, and Startup Group.