in Productivity, Time Management & Efficiency — 5 min read

Do you ever find yourself with so many things to do that you don’t even know where to begin? Do you struggle with analysis paralysis and worry so much about which task to tackle first that you don’t end up doing anything at all?

One way to overcome this issue is to have a system in place that helps you prioritize your to-do list. There are plenty of systems you can use in your workflows, but the PIE framework is an especially effective option to consider.  

Read on to learn everything you need to know about using this framework for prioritizing tasks and maximizing your productivity.

What Is the PIE Framework?

pie framework as easy as pie

There are three primary components that make up the PIE framework. Each of these components gets scored on a scale of 1-10 during the evaluation process:

  • Impact: This refers to the potential that a particular task has to help you work toward accomplishing specific goals 
  • Importance: This refers to the value that the task or project provides to your business or team
  • Effort: The refers to the complexity of the task or project (how easy is it to complete, how long will it take to complete, etc.)

When using the PIE framework in business, if you find that two tasks seem to be equally important, some people use a tie-breaker known as “Strategic Alignment”. This tie-breaker looks at how well a particular task aligns with the company or team’s quarterly goals.

How to Use the PIE Framework

Now that you know more about the PIE framework, are you interested in seeing what it looks like in action? Are you curious about how you can implement it into your workflow? 

pie framework example

Here is a breakdown of how one might use this framework to help them prioritize their tasks and work projects:

Evaluating Projects

Start by making a list of all the projects you have on your plate. Let’s say you have the following tasks that need to be completed for your business:

  • Website redesign to improve conversion rate
  • Running a Google AdWords campaign to improve sales
  • Develop product explanation videos to expand marketing efforts

Consider Their Impact

Once you have all your projects listed, the next step is to evaluate each of them based on their potential impact. 

Imagine your website has never been redesigned since you founded your business. If this is the case, it probably has more potential to boost your bottom line compared to the other two, so it might score a 10 on the scale of importance. 

Consider Their Importance

Next, think about how important each project is to the success of your business. A poorly functioning website is likely going to carry greater weight at the end of the day than a successful AdWords campaign or high-quality product explanation videos, so it might score a 10 as well. 

Consider Their Effort

Of the three projects on this list, redesigning the website is likely going to be the most challenging. It’ll probably take more time and energy than develop videos or running an AdWords campaign, so it might score a 6. 

Consider Their Strategic Alignment

Pretend you’ve deemed the website redesign and the AdWords campaign of equal importance. In this case, strategic alignment is the tie-breaker. How does each project align with your company’s larger goals?

If your company’s primary quarterly goal is to increase customer retention, addressing the website is likely going to provide better results than the AdWords campaign, so the redesign is the winner.

If you haven’t taken the time to set clear quarterly goals for your team, that might need to happen first before you start trying to decide which project to tackle. The Objectives and Key Results framework can help you decide which goals (or objectives) matter most and figure out how you’re going to measure your progress (what key results you’ll look for).

Start Using the PIE Framework Today

As you can see, the PIE framework can be a great option if you need help prioritizing your to-do list, improving productivity, and getting more done. 

Keep the tips listed above in mind and include the PIE framework in your workflow today. Feel free to download our free Google sheet as well to simplify the process.