Imagine, all of a sudden, everyone in your agency starts producing the best work you’ve ever seen. I mean, really top quality stuff. There’s a massive increase in productivity, clients are flocking in for more and the whole office is working like a well oiled machine.

Once you’ve had time to rationalize your ‘zombie apocalypse’ theory (they must not be sleeping), you start doing a little detective work to figure out what’s changed.

And what you find is so basic, it blows your mind…

Your colleagues have simply optimized their ‘to do’ list by identifying the tasks they don’t enjoy doing or don’t feel they are good at, and are taking action to reduce them.

Optimizing your to do list will not only make you feel happier and more fulfilled, it will also increase productivity and the quality of your work.


Here at JTN, we call what should be on our list our ‘Highest Value Activities’ (HVA). These are the tasks that we are good at and enjoy doing.

Here’s how our team identifies their HVA:

  1. They make a note of all of their tasks over the course of a week (ideally 2-4 weeks)
  2. They give each one a score from 1-3 based on their ability to do the task
  3. Then, they give those same tasks a score from -2 to +2 based on their enjoyment of the task
  4. Next, they add or subtract their ‘enjoyment score’ from their ‘ability score’ for each task

Once identified, they then put them through a set of qualification criteria that ultimately leaves them with an optimized ‘to do’ list.

And boy are we a happy, productive bunch here at JTN!

Obviously, though, we can’t just scratch out our least favorite tasks and be done with them (wouldn’t that be nice).

What we do is use the 3 ‘D’s’–drop, delegate or do–to decide what to do about all of the tasks that scored 1 or lower.

  • DROP: Sometimes the best solution is to drop a task that is standing in the way of your productivity, profitability or general enjoyment.
  • DELEGATE: You can delegate a given task to a team member who either enjoys this task more or is more capable of doing it.
  • DO: Get it done! Recognizing the tasks that you ‘just gotta do’ is what separates effective from ineffective team members. BUT, you can do these tasks safe in the knowledge that you have absolutely minimized the tasks that are hampering your overall progress.

In a world where working late, skipping lunch and completing tasks at weekends have become workplace norms, this process may feel like it’s the opposite of ‘productive’.

But consider this:

If you could drop or delegate a task that’s making you miserable, or taking you much more time than it should, do you think you could use that time more productively? Of course!

Do you think you could make more money for you or the agency if you’re doing something you enjoy or that comes naturally to you? Again, yes.

Emily Griebel, Director of Accounts at Esparza Advertising, thinks that ‘A successful ad agency runs like a clock where all of the cogs are turning in the right direction, and at the appropriate speed to keep the instrument running efficiently and effectively.’ (Source: Docurated)


The HVA Process isn’t just about enjoying your work more–it’s also about how that enjoyment translates into more revenue for the business.

Don’t believe us?

It’s simple math really:

What you are best at + work you enjoy = good work and increased productivity.

Good work + increased productivity = happy clients.

Happy clients = returning clients and more revenue.

The most valuable part of your company is the people—the human capital—and any plans to move your business forward have to start there. (Source: Quartz)


Agencies are most effective when the people responsible for its success are consistently performing to the best of their abilities.

Our Team Accelerator Program helps you build an all-star team so that you all consistently produce your best work. Get in touch if you’d like to learn more about how we can help.