How an A- Grade Can Speed Up Your Work Process

BY Jessica Helinski
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Want to know a quick tip for boosting productivity? Its simplicity may surprise you! In a recent post for The Team W Blog,  Guthrie Weinschenk shares an easy thing to do before every task that will boost work efficiency. Before starting a new project, take a moment to determine whether it is an A+ or A- project. He explains that tasks can typically be categorized by grade, either an A+ or A‑, and he defines them as:


  • Get the job done
  • Aim for fast, efficient, solid
  • This doesn't mean sloppy work. It's good work, but it's efficient
  • Everyone is happy; the project is finished. Move on
  • Maximize your skills. Do what you do best so you can work as quickly and efficiently as possible


  • They take twice as much time/​effort as an A- project (seriously, TWICE as much)
  • At the end you and your team are proud of what you have done
  • Pore over every detail, make everything as great as it can possibly be
  • Blow everyone away with the quality, ingenuity, and perfection of the end result
  • Maximize your quality variable alone (economics)! Disregard the amount of effort, aka, ignore marginal effort returns until they are negative (until more work/​time makes the quality worse, which will happen eventually)
  • Make this your passion, and everyone will feel your passion in the result

Note that BOTH types of projects are not sloppy or thrown together–they would not receive a lower grade. But, there is a clear distinction between the two. Some companies require all work to be A+, while others only require an A+ for big projects, like a sales pitch.

So how does this affect productivity? “By identifying if a particular project (or part of a project) is A+, or A‑, ahead of time, you and your team will be much more efficient,” Weinschenk writes. “And by emphasizing more A- projects, you free up time, creativity, and energy to make the next A+ project that much better.”

Test the theory out today by noting the “grades” each task should receive, and then work accordingly. This quick tip could save lots of time in the long run!