BlogStartupsHow to prioritize tasks between your startup and your 9-to-5 job

How to prioritize tasks between your startup and your 9-to-5 job





Managing conflicting priorities and effectively prioritizing tasks between your startup (more so if you are juggling between multiple startups) and your day job requires a strategic and structured approach.

My personal advice is not to get into multiple startups even at the idea stage especially if this is your first entrepreneurial experience, and if you haven’t got any successful exits before. This simply means you don’t have the systems in place to be able to manage multiple startups at the same time. And trust me when I say this, your first startup will need more than your 100% for a long time.

This also doesn’t mean that you have to leave your 9-to-5 day job and focus entirely on your startup. At StartupGuru incubation program, in fact, we don’t advocate this. Keep your 9-to-5, you will need this money to support your family and even fund your startup until you find some external seed investment. And it doesn’t make sense to put in all your hard-earned money and all of your time working on to something which is not proven yet.

So, while you are in the transition phase, working your day job and on your startup, you need a certain system in place, and some disciplined approach. This is more so required if you are an experienced founder, with previous successful exit(s), and now working on multiple startups at the same time. Here are some key strategies to achieve this:

1. Clear Vision and Goals

  • Define Objectives: Clearly define the mission, vision, and goals for each startup. This helps in aligning tasks with the overall objectives.
  • OKRs (Objectives and Key Results): Implement OKRs to set and communicate goals and track progress. This ensures everyone is aligned and focused on what’s important.

2. Effective Time Management

  • Time Blocking: Allocate specific time slots for different tasks and stick to the schedule. Ensure to balance time between different startups and your day job.
  • Prioritize High-Impact Activities: Focus on tasks that have the highest impact on the business goals. Use the 80/20 rule to identify these tasks.

3. Use Prioritization Frameworks

  • Eisenhower Matrix: Categorize tasks into four quadrants (urgent and important, important but not urgent, urgent but not important, neither urgent nor important) to determine priority. Learn more
    • Urgent & Important: These tasks require immediate attention. e.g. Critical deadlines, and emergencies.
    • Important but Not Urgent: Focus on these tasks next. e.g. Long-term planning, and skill development.
    • Urgent but Not Important: Delegate or minimize these tasks. e.g. Interruptions, some emails.
    • Neither Urgent nor Important: Consider eliminating or postponing. e.g. Time-wasting activities.
  • RICE Scoring Model: Rate tasks based on Reach, Impact, Confidence, and Effort to prioritize effectively.
  • MoSCoW Method: Label tasks as Must-have, Should-have, Could-have, or Wonโ€™t-have. Prioritize Must-have tasks. e.g. Core features for MVP.

4. Delegate and Empower Teams

  • Build Trust: Delegate tasks to trusted team members and empower them to make decisions. Ensure they understand the priorities and goals.
  • Set Clear Responsibilities: Clearly define roles and responsibilities to avoid overlapping and ensure accountability.

5. Regular Check-Ins and Adjustments

  • Daily Stand-Ups: Conduct daily stand-up meetings to discuss progress, challenges, and priorities. This keeps everyone aligned and informed.
  • Weekly Reviews: Review progress weekly and adjust priorities based on the current situation and business needs.

6. Effective Communication

  • Transparent Communication: Maintain open and transparent communication channels to ensure everyone is aware of the priorities and changes.
  • Centralized Information: Use project management tools (like Trello, Asana, or Jira) to centralize task management and communication.

7. Manage Dependencies

  • Identify Dependencies: Identify and manage dependencies between tasks and projects to prevent bottlenecks and delays.
  • Cross-Functional Collaboration: Encourage collaboration between different teams and startups to ensure smooth execution of dependent tasks.

8. Focus on Customer Feedback

  • Customer-Centric Approach: Prioritize tasks based on customer feedback and needs. This ensures that the startups are delivering value to their customers.
  • Continuous Improvement: Regularly gather customer feedback and use it to refine priorities and improve processes.

9. Balance Long-Term and Short-Term Goals

  • Strategic Planning: Balance tasks that contribute to long-term strategic goals with those that provide short-term gains.
  • Flexibility: Be flexible and ready to re-prioritize tasks as new opportunities or challenges arise.

10. Self-Care and Sustainability

  • Avoid Burnout: Ensure to take breaks and manage stress to maintain high productivity levels.
  • Healthy Work-Life Balance: Promote a healthy work-life balance for yourself and your team to sustain long-term productivity.

By implementing these strategies, you can manage conflicting priorities and effectively prioritize tasks across your day job and multiple startups, ensuring each one progresses towards its goals while maintaining overall organizational efficiency.๐Ÿš€

author avatar
Kunal Pandya Director
Kunal Pandya is an early stage investor, chief Guru/Mentor at StartupGuru and CEO of NCrypted Technologies. He is also an advisor and a board member of several of our portfolio companies. Throughout his career, Kunal has helped build multi-million dollar businesses from the ground up and have been instrumental in dozens of startup success stories. Armed with over 20 years of startup ecosystem experience worldwide, Kunal enjoys sharing his experience through writing on startup ecosystem topics such as entrepreneurship, funding, business models, best practices and startup hacks. When not working or writing, Kunal loves spending his time with family, making short films and visiting new places across the globe.


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