Jobs to be done

The dog needs to be fed, there’s a blog post to write, a report is due, there’s a meeting at 10, this form from the bank has to be submitted…

We can measure our performance (and our days) by how well we’re doing the jobs to be done. They focus our attention and our effort and create positive outcomes when we do them on time (and negative ones when we don’t).

12 or more years of school are nothing but this. Training in awareness of jobs to be done, and applying the minimum amount of effort to get those jobs done. Show me your list of jobs to be done and I’ll have a good idea of how you spend your time and the impact you’re making.

Easily overlooked, though, is the process of how something gets on our agenda or doesn’t. Working on voting rights, paying attention to voices unheard, grabbing possibilities for learning or growth or contribution–these are easy to ignore if they’re not on the list of jobs to be done.

And the people who do have these on their list… part of their job is to put their issue on our lists.

As soon as you sign up for a social network, it becomes a job to be done. And the moment you take investment for a new company, your jobs to be done completely change.

This gets meta pretty quick: one of the jobs to be done is to be clear about what the jobs to be done are, and whether or not they are the right jobs.

And another one of the jobs to be done is helping other people see that the things we care about belong on their list of jobs to be done.

If all you’re doing is the jobs you used to do, you’re certainly missing out on the contributions you’re capable of.