If you read my post on coming up with startup / project ideas, then you're likely overflowing with ideas for projects you can work on. That’s great, but if you are anything like me, now you have the next issue of trying to decide where you want to focus your energy.
Many people make emotional decisions and then back them with data. People who aspire to high performance seek a more blended approach. They are deliberate about using data and/or emotion in their decision process.
When it comes to making a decision about what I want to work on, I created a process that pushes me to analyze my decision at a few different levels. This system forces me to take a look at the task at hand (Problem), decide if I’m the person who should do it (Solution), and determine if I have the emotional energy to put behind it (Passion). Overall the system can be visualized as seen in the diagram above. Let’s investigate how we apply it. We will start by looking at the different areas.
Sometimes I’ve called this the "hole in the universe". There are many different ways of testing this, but the goal is to ensure that there really is the problem (or opportunity) that you can work on.
This could also be labeled - your potential to create the solution. Do I have the standing to make a credible case that I can fill the hole in the universe created by this problem? Do I have an idea about how to solve the problem that is different and interesting? If I don’t currently have the skills necessary to create the solution, do I have a defendable plan to acquire them?
Having a problem to work on is great. However, do I care about solving it? Am I committed to putting in the effort necessary to see the opportunity realized?
Putting it together
After going through the process of considering each area I look across each one to see If I feel my performance will be strong enough. As you have likely foreseen, I only take on projects at are at the intersection of all three areas. I do this because I strongly believe in fully committing to anything I work on.
Let me know if this framework is helpful for you!