How to Prioritize as a Solopreneur and Dealing with Switching Costs

Have you ever used the urgency vs. importance matrix to make decisions or plan your day?

As an entrepreneur (and solopreneur especially), the question we can ask ourselves at any given time is “what should I be doing?”

There are thousands of things we can do at any moment in time, so we need to evaluate which are worth it, and a lot of people use the urgency vs. important matrix.

In other words, how important is this task, and how urgent is it? Generally, you want to do tasks that fit both of those categories first. Then the important ones that may not be urgent, then the urgent ones that aren’t so important.

But I think there’s a third factor that should be added to the matrix: mental peace.

Let me explain…

Let’s say you have 2 tasks on your plate – responding to a client email that is somewhat urgent but not very important, and a 45 minute task that isn’t urgent but super important for your company that you’ve been putting off.

Most would say you should do the 45 minute task first because it’s more important.

But as someone who deals with lots of “urgent” emails (ones that the client may think is urgent but isn’t actually), I consider another aspect – will doing a quicker task first provide me with more mental peace and clarity so I can finish the longer and more important task more efficiently?

From my example above, would taking 5 minutes to answer the client email give me peace of mind so I can do a better of job on the 45 minute task instead of having the email response in the back of my mind the whole time?

Like most things in business, there is no right and wrong and you need to find what works best for you.

Watch me go into this in more detail here:

I also want to discuss another solopreneur efficiency tip that is often over-looked, especially by those who have their eggs in more than one basket (like me, and probably many of you?).

I’m talking about switching costs.

What is a switching cost, you may ask?

Quite simply, it’s the time, energy and mental fortitude it takes to switch between tasks at any given time.

For example, you’re working on a great blog post – this post is going to be super helpful to your audience and after doing some research and planning, you get into the flow of writing.

You’re a few paragraphs away from being done, and your phone rings. As an antsy solopreneur, you might pick it up. If you do pick it up…

BAM!!!

Switching cost.

You just took time to switch from writing your blog post to answering your phone. You talk for a few minutes and hang up, and then you go back to your blog post…

Wait, where was I again?

How was I going to end this sentence?

What was my conclusion going to be?

Wasn’t there a word I wanted to change in the intro?

In terms of absolute time, the switching cost can be a matter of seconds. The real cost is in the mental energy and focus it takes to get back to where you were before, into that productive flow state, which can take much longer than just a few minutes.

Anyway, that’s what switching costs are and the more you reduce them, the more productive you’ll be over time. See below for a quick vlog I did on working more efficiently as a solopreneur, and switching costs: