Boss Lady

Do you know your genius zone?


We’re all told to stick to what you’re best at, but it’s not always clear what that is.   If you want to save time, and increase profitability, then you need to stick to your Genius Zone. Your Genius Zone is the three to five major tasks you own in the business and that you invest the majority of your time into in order to generate maximum return. A genius task meets the following three criteria:

  1. It’s something you’re passionate about.
  2. It’s something that is essential to the business
  3. It needs to contribute directly to the profit of the business.

The four zones

I first learnt this method of categorising tasks from my studies of Dan Sullivan, founder of the Strategic Coach program. There are four zones, and it’s unlikely that many of your responsibilities currently lie in your ‘genius zone’.


Tasks that are placed into the Incompetence Zone are tasks that you know have to be done, but don’t know how to do them yourself.  When we are learning anything new it often takes a long time and requires a lot of focused energy to implement. These tasks are often low value and create negative energy when you implement them (stress, angst, frustration).

The goal is for you to spend 0 % of your time performing incompetence tasks.


Tasks placed into the Competence Zone are tasks you know how to do but are not very good at or loathe doing. These tasks really drain you of energy. For most business owners this is admin, filing, bookkeeping, or many of the current technology needs a business has, such as social media, search engine optimisation or Google AdWords. These are tasks you can do, but you really shouldn’t.

Again, the goal is for you to spend 0 % of your time doing competence tasks.


Tasks that are placed into the Excellence Zone are tasks you’re really good at, that are valuable to the business, but you don’t necessarily love doing. An example of this for myself is spreadsheets and financial models. As a trained accountant, I am capable of doing them to a high level of excellence — but I don’t love doing them. Excellence tasks can be stopped; however, in my experience you will generally need to invest a little more money into a person or system to achieve this.

The goal is to spend 30- 40 % of your time doing excellence tasks. This leaves 60 -70 % of your time for the Genius Zone.


The simplest way to describe your Genius Zone is tasks or activities you love to do and are really good at, and if your day was filled with these tasks or activities you would feel energised and happy. Genius Zone tasks are generally easy for you to do and you tend to do them naturally. Your genius zone tasks also tend to be highly profitable.

You will often hear yourself saying ‘If only had more time to XYZ, then we would make significantly more money.’ Owners of fast growing companies understand this philosophy and understand that the more time spent in the Genius Zone the faster the company will grow.

Remember, you should end up with no more than three to five genius tasks. You want to focus your time on these and delegate the rest.







This is an extract from Matt Malouf’s new book: The Stop Doing List

About Matt Malouf

Matt Malouf is an internationally-acclaimed speaker, business coach, author and entrepreneur whose mission is to help business owners build amazing businesses that enable them to live a life of freedom and fulfilment. His new book, The Stop Doing List (Wiley $27.95), is available now. For more information on Matt Malouf visit

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