Which Projects Are Worth My Time?

People are so busy these days. It seems like life never slows down and the number of things with which we can occupy our time is endless. We all have so many things to do and just about all of those things seem important and necessary. We have work and family duties, as well as many other civic or volunteer duties. The list is endless and it seems like there is just no way to possibly fit everything in that we want, or even need, to do. With so many different important duties, we often get pulled in many directions and that can lead to important duties being overlooked. So how can you find time to fit everything in? Or perhaps, more importantly, how do we decide which projects, or duties are worth our time? After all, we can’t overlook the things that have to be done, but we can’t ignore all the things that we want to get done, either, especially when it comes to business.

Solve Someone Else’s Problem

I sat down to chat with David Bradford on my weekly radio program, American Dreams, and discussed all kinds of topics with him, including how to decide which projects are worth our time. David is the current Chairman of the Board of VIEW – Virtual Immersive Educational Worlds aka FluentWorlds. He has also spent time as an Executive/CEO/Chairman at several other companies, including Novell, Fusion-io and HireVue. There are many ways to go about determining what you should work on in the business, and each one has its own merit. However, according to David, the key is to focus on what will bring you the most return. In essence, David told me that the best approach is to look for a “pain” or a problem that needs to be solved and work on coming up with a solution. He shared a personal story as an example.

Work on Healing the Pain

He told me about a time when he was competing in a senior track tournament. He was doing the long jump and as he ran down the track to approach the board he had visions of an incredibly successful jump going through his mind. He was going to do great. However, as he hit the takeoff board, his hamstring snapped. He said: “As I landed in that pit, I screamed out in pain. I was just miserable. I would have paid a million dollars right then and there to any physician that could have solved that pain.” So how does this relate to deciding which projects are worth our time? David explained to me that he looks for companies that have the ability or a service that solves a critical pain point in a corporate process. In other words, is there a pain point that someone is experiencing out there that they will actually write a check for.

Find the Solution

So in business terms, if you are trying to determine which of all the directions you should focus, and where you should put all your time and effort, then look for someone else that is in pain, or that has a serious problem that needs a solution. If you can come up with the solution they are looking for that will alleviate the pain, or fix the problem, then they will likely be willing to write you a check. That will help you get the best return on your investment and be the greatest use of your time.

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