Make an Interest Grid to Figure Out What You Want to Focus On

Perhaps you, like me, have far more that you would like to do, than you realistically have time for.

Enter the interest / importance grid: a way to think through what you would like to focus on.

What kinds of things does this work for? Pretty much anything where you want to choose a few options, out of many possible options.

It could be major life changes that are important to you, like:

  • which job skills you want to focus on, for your next career move
  • which features in a new apartment or house are most important to you
  • which projects, out of several possibilities, you will take on next

It could also be personal choices that interest you, like:

  • which books to bring with you on vacation
  • which movies you want to watch next
  • which courses you want to block time in your calendar for, this year

If you can’t figure out which of several possible options to act on, give the interest grid a whirl.

Here’s how it works:

Get a piece of paper and draw a horizontal line near the top.

Write the numbers 1 - 5 above that line.

Going down the left side, write a list of all the things you’re interested in; all the contenders for your attention, time, and / or money.

Now you’re going to rank them.

Next to each item, draw a horizontal line out to the number that reflects your interest: 1 equals little to no interest; 5 equals, YES I am very interested in this.

When you’ve drawn a horizontal line to measure your interest next to each item, wrap it up by drawing a vertical line under the number 4, from the top of the page to the bottom.

Focus on anything where the horizontal line crosses the vertical line you drew under “4.”

Ignore everything else.

Post your interest grid somewhere where you can see it, to remind yourself that you already thought it through; and now you know what you are focusing on.

a handwritten interest grid, on the topic of what to do with my day off tomorrow


Looks like it’s novel reading and birdwatching for me tomorrow!

Those birds won’t watch themselves, you know.

P.S. Can’t narrow it down to just one? Try this.

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