Adora Cheung – How to Prioritize Your Time | Y Combinator

Reference: Y Combinator. (2019, September 13). Adora Cheung - How to Prioritize Your Time [Video]. YouTube.

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Adora Cheung - How to Prioritize Your Time - Y Combinator
33 Creds - Productivity

howdy as kevin stated my identify is adora i am one of many companions at yc and i’ll discuss the way to prioritize time time as you understand is valuable particularly if you’re engaged on a startup time burns cash and cash is the very primary factor that retains a startup alive to not be too philosophical about it however even when your private burn is tremendous low you possibly can eat ramen days on finish which i do not counsel and you do not have to pay your self for a really very long time there’s all the time a excessive alternative value to doing all of your startup so it is tremendous essential to make use of your time one of the simplest ways doable to maximise your startups probability for achievement which implies it’s essential to be actually good at figuring out and prioritizing duties which might be going to be probably the most impactful on your startup’s progress which i’ve seen after going by means of 1000’s of weekly updates from startup college founders um that a whole lot of founders are usually not doing this nicely so hopefully this will likely be useful let me first pre-face all of this by defining what time i am speaking about so clearly there are 24 hours in a day and i am not right here to let you know the way to allocate these hours throughout your startup versus every thing else that’s essential to you sleep household mates hobbies and so and so forth um everybody has completely different conditions so it is exhausting for me to from up right here provide you with good generic recommendation um on the way to uh allocate your time throughout this stuff i am simply gonna assume you are doing what’s finest for you whether or not it is 2 6 12 hours a day that you simply resolve to work in your startup it does not matter to me for the aim of this lecture i simply need to assist you determine the way to spend these 2 6 or 12 hours that you’ve got determined to allocate your startup in the absolute best manner all proper so in terms of issues to work in your startup my guess is that you have already got one thing like a activity record through which you set new concepts on um to finally work on and also you replace that very often um so let’s begin from there that you’ve a activity record of issues to do first i need to make an actual clear distinction between actual and faux startup progress that is the simplest method to classify whether or not a duties goes within the ought to do or the mustn’t do bucket if it contributes to actual startup progress you need to contemplate doing it and if it does not then do not this appears trivial at first why would anybody do something that quantities to pretend startup progress however let me clarify additional so actual startup progress is if you’re actually targeted on issues that basically transfer the needle on your startup and to start with one of the simplest ways to indicate that is by means of development specifically development of your major kpi i gave a complete lecture on this a couple of weeks in the past on kpi and objectives if you have not watched it but please watch it i discuss quite a bit about major and secondary kpis there’s all the time a stability between what to deal with however for the aim of this lecture i am simply going to seek advice from the first kpi because the factor to deal with rising so to summarize your major kpi nearly all the time is both income or lively customers and you need to all the time be setting weekly objectives for this to maneuver the needle on the kpis the best leverage factor you could be doing additionally all the time comes within the type of duties that contain speaking to customers and constructing and iterating your product nothing else that is in direct distinction with pretend startup progress which is when founders deal with issues that aren’t instantly associated to rising your major kpi so frequent issues i see in weekly updates are issues like attending conferences specializing in profitable awards community occasions optimizing the improper metrics when you might persuade your self these are good issues to deal with they’re really many steps away from delivering actual worth to your buyer and so if all of the issues you might be probably doing spending any important time on any of this stuff is sort of all the time a nasty thought the purpose is to not optimize startup self-importance however really delivering worth to your buyer doing the issues that can assist you to instantly assist you to improve your kpi now that we now have one method to filter what duties you have to be engaged on let’s go a little bit bit deeper and work out the way to decide if you happen to’re prioritizing the precise duties this at first additionally appears trivial presumably you are doing what you imagine is excessive worth work i imply no one ever says oh let me do the factor that’s going to assist my startup the least proper uh however that is what i’ll problem there are tons of of issues you might be probably engaged on to extend your major kpi is what you are engaged on proper now the most effective factor you are able to do to fulfill your weekly purpose or have you ever tricked your self into doing one thing else the explanation i am skeptical is as a result of it is really fairly simple simple for a low worth work to unnoticeably creep into your schedule it really takes a whole lot of work and energy to not let this occur so this is an experiment attempt journaling in nice element of every day up to now week each single hour so hour by hour what’s it that you simply have been precisely doing and be trustworthy on what you thought the impression was earlier than you really did it and what it was in growing your major kpi i feel you may be stunned by how a lot of it it was really low worth work and the reason being not since you’re lazy or i hope not it is extra as a result of we are usually as people on autopilot so we do not give a lot thought to what we’re doing with our time and our pure intuition is definitely to go for low worth work as a result of it is often the simplest and quickest factor to perform and it fulfills our want to verify as many issues off of an inventory as doable it feels actually good to verify issues off so however when you’re conscious of this stopping it’s really fairly easy however it does take time thought and self-discipline so first if you happen to aren’t already you need to hold a spreadsheet of concepts that may transfer your major kpi and to not be too repetitive however these duties are nearly all the time a variant of two issues proper one speaking to customers and two constructing product speaking to customers helps you with three issues proper it converts them into clients and income or helps you change them to clients and income it helps you perceive if you happen to’re heading in the right direction or not and it helps you determine in case your product sorry it helps you determine your merchandise roadmap after which constructing product really delivers an answer to the person to see if it really interprets into extra clients and income in order you give you these concepts you need to log them into your spreadsheet and hold hold doing that as each thought you get however the secret is do not do them immediately simply write them down and that is essential as a result of all the time switching to the factor you simply considered which all the time sounds higher now than later causes a ton of whiplash for founders and it is a major name half in making no progress throughout the week so now you are monitoring this record then as soon as we undergo every merchandise in your spreadsheet and grade the brand new and re-grade the outdated gadgets primarily based on how impactful you assume the duty could be on attaining the weekly purpose on your major kpi there are three grades you may give to every activity in your record excessive medium low these definitions are a little bit arbitrary within the sense that it is it is all gener it is all relative to no matter else is in your record however normally excessive means it is a activity you imagine that can assist you to meet your purpose for the week with excessive chance medium is you are unsure however with okay chance you possibly can hit your weekly purpose and low is with very low chance you may see that it is really fairly simple to determine what these high and low worth duties are if you examine them towards every thing else you might be doing which is why this train irrespective of how pedantic it’s is essential to take action let me undergo an instance as an instance i am the founding father of a of a sas software program generic sas software program firm my purpose for the subsequent week and that i simply type of launched and my purpose for the subsequent week is simply to get 5 new paying clients so this is only a sliver of uh issues i can do to succeed in that purpose on the high you may see that probably the most impactful factor i can do is go to the workplaces of 10 potential clients who have been really intro to me by mates or whoever and i do know that if i present as much as the workplace i’ve an excellent probability simply from my expertise i’ve an excellent probability of of convincing them to purchase my product um and in order that’s why that is on the high of the record the subsequent few are of assembly impression as a result of they contain me filling up my pipeline which is one step away from touchdown new clients however essential to do i even have the second factor right here i even have a video demos i can do which for me aren’t as efficient as doing in individual however value doing as nicely as a result of they do result in some new clients you may discover that there are a pair gadgets on the backside of this which contain programming so a quite common mistake technical founders make is to construct issues first after which go discuss to customers and based on this record to fulfill my weekly purpose this implies they’d be selecting the least impactful factor to do for that week however with this technique in the event that they’re trustworthy about it they haven’t any selection however to get off their butt and go discuss to customers as a substitute so together with the impression um that it could have in your weekly on assembly serving to you obtain your weekly purpose we additionally want to think about a second dimension of how advanced the duty is that’s how lengthy would it not take for you and your group to finish it uh as a result of there are a lot of duties inside every class of impression for instance there’s like 4 of right here in medium and three and low and so the query is how do i stack rank these inside that class um and so this dimension of complexity helps so we are able to create complexity in 3 ways simple medium and exhausting really easy a simple activity is one thing that you are able to do in lower than a day meaning you are able to do a bunch of simple duties in at present a medium activity is one thing that takes one or two days so that you can do and a tough activity is one which takes many days to do and it’s possible you’ll not full it throughout the week so when you go grade all of them you may have once more the second dimension right here the place you have got impression after which additionally complexity and so now you possibly can simply stack rank all of the duties in your record and fairly it is fairly simple to decide on what you need to prioritize so given the target is to hit your weekly purpose the plain selection is all the time to go one thing with the uh to go for the combos of excessive simple combos on excessive medium that’s one thing hooked up that has excessive impression and is straightforward to do you need to all the time do these first after which go to excessive impression and medium median complexity uh and also you what you actually do not need to do is deal with these backside issues right here proper one thing that has in all probability little or no chance in serving to you obtain your purpose and could be very exhausting to do it takes a very long time to do there’s actually no level in doing any of these issues so simply as essential as choosing the precise activity to work on is ensuring you do not attempt to do every thing directly choose sufficient duties you could full and do nicely doing too many issues means you will not have the ability to full a lot with a lot of the duty with a lot conviction and makes it actually exhausting to indicate progress from week to week how do i do know i’m prioritizing my time nicely finally you understand you have performed nicely if you happen to’re hitting your weekly objectives constantly so it is you are doing nicely in case your graphs appear like that um sadly most of us have graphs that appear like this these trousers the place it is reducing and also you’re type of like steady for some time on the backside um that is if you begin doubting your self is like am i working actually on the precise factor um or not and so what can we do about this or how do we all know so a method is to do what you are already doing in startup college which is writing weekly updates and being actually constant and trustworthy about it so the important thing elements of weekly replace is fairly simple what was your weekly purpose did you succeed if not what was the largest block of the expansion uh what did you do and what was the anticipated impression and what was the motion and what was the precise impression and what it did what did you be taught this week what have been the massive learnings this week after which by doing an ongoing analysis of your weekly updates it should assist you to enhance how you choose and prioritize duties infrequently you need to evaluation all of your weekly updates like from starting the primary one you ever wrote on your startup to the present one to the final one and verify for issues like do you’re feeling such as you’re studying quick sufficient are you predicting the impression of every activity nicely did you let low worth work and even worse pretend progress creep into your schedule is your greatest blocker the identical factor for each week lots of people really get in a tough spot the place they don’t seem to be studying something new and simply doing the identical factor again and again with out realizing it reviewing your updates will assist you to understand that and can power you to attempt to get your self out of that unhealthy loop in phrases this final one by way of finishing duties if you happen to’re discovering your self all the time operating out of time to finish duties you felt was completely doable to finish within the week i’ve two strategies for you one is maybe your activity is definitely too advanced and you need to break it down into medium and straightforward duties uh the second is perhaps it’s that your schedule must be rejiggered a little bit bit i like to recommend a modified model of what we name the makers supervisor schedule which was widespread popularized by paul graham the essay is linked within the startup college library the essential thought is that this there are excessive context switching prices to several types of duties for instance coding and conferences like speaking to customers which means it is exhausting to restart and ramp again up on a activity particularly like coding and it is expensive to exit at a time when issues are lastly flowing and also you’re getting stuff performed so if you end up switching forwards and backwards an excessive amount of it could be that you simply’re losing time and must rejigger issues so you have got a steady steady chunk of time devoted to every one so many individuals will really break up their divide their week in two days proper so one full day they’re going to simply spend coding and the subsequent full day they’re going to spend conferences and speaking to customers and so forth as a substitute of being having like one hour right here one hour there one hour deer for individuals who must get extra stuff performed within the day then they’re going to do half the day they’re going to spend coding after which half the day they’re going to spend speaking to customers uh so that is for any solo founders on the market um that is extremely essential for you as a result of um you do not have the chance to divvy up the work throughout a number of folks um so it is actually essential to get your schedule appropriate all proper so i am going to finish with one last piece of recommendation um which is transferring quick so to start with your startup your major goal is to maneuver as rapidly as doable to show that you simply’re constructing one thing folks need the sooner you work this out the sooner you possibly can pivot into one thing or have the boldness that you’ve product market match and may begin scaling and constructing an incredible enterprise so making selections thoughtfully and rapidly is tremendous essential time is usually wasted in indecisiveness the secret is to be okay with making a improper selection and studying quick so after all selecting the best factor to do on the get-go is the most effective factor doable however it’s additionally the case that an individual who chooses the improper activity to work on at present however strikes rapidly learns why it is improper and strikes to the precise one is healthier off than the person who takes ceaselessly to decide on the precise duties to work on and is twiddling their thumbs engaged on low worth stuff within the meantime that is all i’ve at present on the way to prioritize time to summarize what you have to be doing all the time be engaged on issues that instantly impression your major kpi do the issues which have the best impression to assembly your weekly purpose and that often all the time means what speaking to customers and constructing 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