Adventures in Machine Learning

Maximizing Productivity: Use an Impact-Effort Chart to Optimize Your Time

Impact-Effort Chart: How to Optimize Your Time and Resources

As we navigate through our daily tasks, we often encounter difficulties in prioritizing them and deciding which tasks are worth our efforts. Often, we are entangled in multiple back-to-back duties that leave us with little time for rest.

In such situations, having a tool to help us prioritize and optimize our time and resources can make a huge difference. This is where the Impact-Effort Chart comes into play.

What is an Impact-Effort Chart? An Impact-Effort Chart, also known as a Cost-Benefit Analysis Chart, is a tool used to visualize the benefits and costs of implementing specific actions.

It is a simple and efficient way of determining which tasks should be a priority, based on their potential impact and the effort required to complete them. The chart assigns each task a quadrant based on two factors: impact and effort.

Impact is the potential positive result of a task, while effort is the amount of work, time or resources needed to complete it. In an Impact-Effort Chart, the Y-axis represents the level of impact, while the X-axis represents the level of effort.

Therefore, tasks that require minimal effort and have a high impact are placed in the top-left quadrant, while tasks with a high impact but requiring much effort are placed in the bottom-left quadrant. Tasks that require minimal effort but have low impact are placed in the top-right quadrant, and tasks that take much effort and yield little impact are categorized in the bottom-right quadrant.

Why is an Impact-Effort Chart important? An Impact-Effort Chart provides several benefits.

It allows you to visually see the priorities of tasks and determine which ones should be focused on first, saving you time, and resources. By analyzing each task’s potential gain and cost, you can make informed decisions about its urgency and importance.

This tool can also help to improve your planning and decision-making skills, allowing you to have a more efficient workflow. In short, an Impact-Effort Chart is a powerful tool that can help you optimize your productivity and reduce the odds of burnout.

How to Implement an Impact-Effort Chart

Now that we understand the importance of an Impact-Effort Chart to our daily operations, let’s look at how to implement one using Python programming language. We will be using modules such as Pandas and Matplotlib to handle our data.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to build and visualize your Impact-Effort Chart in Python. Step 1: Import the necessary modules

We need to install and import Python libraries such as pandas, matplotlib, and random.

Pandas will help us to handle our data, while Matplotlib and Random will be used for graphing and selecting random data respectively. The following commands will help install these libraries.

! pip install pandas

! pip install matplotlib

! pip install random

Step 2: Load and clean data

Our dataset should contain all the necessary tasks that we want to complete, with their associated impact and effort measures. We can use Pythons data frame to load the dataset containing this information.

Clean the data frame by removing any null values or unwanted columns. This can be done using the following command:

import pandas as pd

df = pd.read_csv(“tasks.csv”)

df = df.drop([“task_id”],axis=1)

df = df.dropna()

Note: the csvfile used in this example should contain columns indicating the task_id, impact, effort, and number of days to complete a task. Step 3: Extract required information from our data

We can create a dictionary using our data that contains the required information, i.e., the task priority, number of days, and the selected quadrant.

The code for creating the dictionary is as follows:

task_dict = {}

for i in df.index:

id =[i,”task_id”]

impact =[i, “impact”]

effort =[i, “effort”]

days =[i, “days”]

score = impact/effort


Step 4: Assign each task a quadrant

Now that we have all the necessary information from our dataset in a dictionary, we can assign each task to a quadrant. We use a set of rules to determine the quadrant of each task.

The rules are as follows:

If a task has a high impact to effort ratio (score), it goes in the top-left quadrant. If a task has a high ratio of effort to impact, it goes in the bottom-left quadrant.

If a task has a low impact and little effort, it goes in the top-right quadrant. If a task has little impact but requires significant effort, it goes in the bottom-right quadrant.

The following code shows how we can assign each task to a quadrant:

quadrant_dict = {}

for key in task_dict.keys():

score = task_dict[key][3]

if score > 1:

quadrant = 1

elif score < 1:

quadrant = 2

elif score == 1 and task_dict[key][0] > 3:

quadrant = 1

elif score == 1 and task_dict[key][0] <= 3:

quadrant = random.randint(1,2)


Step 5: Visualize the Results

Now that we have categorized our tasks, we can use Matplotlib to display our Impact-Effort Chart. We can create a scatter plot, with the X and Y values representing effort and impact, respectively.

The color of each circle in the scatter plot will depend on its assigned quadrant. We can also annotate each circle with more information such as the task name, number of days, and its score.

The following code shows how this can be done:

import matplotlib.pyplot as plt

x = [task_dict[x][1] for x in task_dict.keys()]

y = [task_dict[x][0] for x in task_dict.keys()]

colors = [quadrant_dict[x] for x in quadrant_dict.keys()]

fig, ax = plt.subplots()


ax.set_xlabel(“Effort (number of days)”)

ax.set_ylabel(“Impact (scale of 1-5)”)

for x,y,label in zip(x,y,task_dict.keys()):

ax.annotate(label, (x,y),textcoords=”offset points”, xytext=(4,0), ha=”left”)


In conclusion, an Impact-Effort Chart is a useful tool that can help improve productivity and task management. It helps you to prioritize tasks and optimize your time and resources effectively.

In this article, we have offered a step-by-step guide on how to create an Impact-Effort Chart using Python programming language. This tool is a valuable asset in managing your workflow, and with the right set of skills can benefit individuals and organizations alike.

In summary, an Impact-Effort Chart is a powerful tool that can help in prioritizing tasks and optimizing time and resources. It is essential for improving productivity and reducing the risk of burnout.

By following the above five steps, anyone can implement this effective tool using Python programming language. With the right set of skills, an Impact-Effort Chart can provide great benefits for individuals and organizations alike.

After implementing this tool, individuals can enhance their planning and decision-making skills, thereby streamlining their workflow and getting more done.