Stop Thinking! Just Set Priorities with a Matrix Instead

Author: tracysigler | Posted: March 31st, 2013 | | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

Opportunity Priority Matrix(Photo by reingestalter)

OK, I don’t really mean you should stop “thinking” just stop making decisions about what to work on at work, at home, etc. Decisions will wear you out before you even get started. That’s why it’s called “decision fatigue.”

How can we simplify our lives? By coming with a tool to help us rationally process all the opportunities we have.

What kind of tool do we need? The Opportunity Priority Matrix! My wife and I even used a matrix to choose a car recently.

The steps are this simple:

  1. Choose the criteria that are important to you, or your business, or whatever you are working on.
  2. Choose a range of scores, e.g. 1-3, 1-10, etc.
  3. Score each “opportunity” across all the criteria.

The highest scoring item should be your highest priority, and on down the list. Allocate your time, focus and other resources accordingly. End needless debate, in your head or with other people, about priorities by pointing to the outcomes in matrix.

Why do we need this again? Because you’re are tired of making the same decisions over and over. AND pursuing any opportunity means you have less capacity to pursue other opportunities. That’s why it’s called “opportunity costs.” So we should work on the most important stuff, first. Read the rest of this entry »


Making Decisions – Which Car Should I Buy?

Author: tracysigler | Posted: November 8th, 2012 | | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

There are few people who are more emotional about cars than me. Mere pictures in books and magazines have caused me to tear up. Go ahead, laugh. Love is never wrong!

But there is a time when emotion needs to take a backseat to reason. Hot rods, Mustangs, Ferraris, and anything vintage are bought only for emotional reasons. And there’s nothing wrong with that. But this post is about deciding which car best meets your everyday needs.

It’s been a good while since we bought a new car and there is so much to choose from that it was a little overwhelming. After a lot of reading we scratched off many cars that at first seemed reasonable. Crap mileage? Gone. It’s too easy to make decent power AND good MPG nowadays to not hold out for both.

We eventually got it down to the five cars below. Then visited the dealers to test drive each. I told them to give me the most swank version they had, one with all the options, so each car could have a fair shot at the title. Mary and I took turns in each car and compared notes at home.

To the whiteboard! We used the ratings in Consumer Reports for some of the buying criteria, added some ratings and rankings of our own, and put it all in a matrix to come up with a score. Sounds complicated but it took less time to do than explain.

Using Consumer Reports’ familiar rating system of red balls (better than average) and black balls (worse than average) we scored each car 5 points for the best rating and on down to 1 for the black ball. Then for some things that were important to us, sun/moon roof , back seat room, MPG, warranty and price we rank ordered the cars as best we could with 5 going to the winner. It looks like this. Read the rest of this entry »