Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Achieve More with Less - Applying the 80-20 Rule

Among the goals that have been shared with me by blog readers and newsletter subscribers, many of them have to do with personal productivity and achieving more than in the past. 

In today's post, I want to share a productivity strategy with you to help you reflect on your time management and make adjustments that will yield greater results for you this year. 

Have you heard of the Pareto Principle? It's also called the 80-20 rule. 

It says that 80% of consequences come from 20% of actions.

Vilfredo Pareto was an economist in Italy in the late 1800's and early 1900's, and he noticed that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the people. He also noticed that 80% of the peas in his garden came from 20% of his pea plants. 

"80% of effects come from 20% of causes"

Maybe you've heard of it in terms of your clothes. It's been said that we wear 20% of our clothes 80% of the time. (Are you grabbing the same outfit week after week?)

In graduate school for my administrative degree, I heard, "Twenty percent of the teachers account for 80% of the discipline referrals."

In terms of management, there's a belief that 80% of the work is done by 20% of the team members. (Do you find this to be true in your workplace?)

How can we use the 80-20 rule to help us be more productive and better time managers? Use the Pareto Principle to evaluate specific areas of your life:

  • How are you spending your leisure time? 20% of what you are doing is providing 80% of the joy you get from leisure activities. What can you eliminate?
  • Are there clothes that you haven't worn in a while that you can donate? It will reduce your choices in the mornings and save time and decision-making energy.
  • What about your email Inbox? You probably read 20% of the newsletters and emails that you've subscribed to. Unsubscribe from the extra ones, and read and implement what you learn from the 20%.
  • Twenty percent of your daily tasks produce 80% of your results towards your goals. What can you streamline and take OFF your to-do plate? Eliminate unnecessary tasks or ones that you can delegate to others. Try to only do the things that produce results and move you closer towards your goals. 
  • Since only 20% of your tasks produce the results you want or need, avoid starting with the "busywork" that doesn't produce results. Sometimes we start with the "easy" tasks that allow us to check a box somewhere, but we need to be focusing our time and energy on those actions that have the greatest impact.

"If you want to have more, do more, and be more, it all begins with the voice that no one else hears."  
~Tim Ferriss

I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts the other day - Glambition Radio with Ali Brown, and she was interviewing Lynn Perkins, CEO and Co-Founder of UrbanSitter.

In the interview, Lynn said that at the beginning of each day, she writes down three things to get done by the end of the day. 

Those three things are ones that when she leaves the office in the afternoon, if she's done those things she would feel good about what she had accomplished that day. 

It helps to keep her goals prioritized throughout the day, especially when things get hectic. Can't we all relate?

I would love to hear about the changes in your life after applying the 80-20 rule.

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Tuesday, January 1, 2019

My 3 Words for 2019

At the close of each year, I take time to reflect on the year and think about what I want to accomplish in the new year. 

I tend to be hard on myself, but I am learning (with the help of all of you in my PLN), that forgiving myself just as much as I forgive others is courageous and important. 

While I faced disappointments in 2018 that taught me many lessons, there were accomplishments and events that happened that keep me feeling inspired.

And it's you I have to thank. From my readers who connect with me on twitter and Voxer to those of you who believe in me and lift me up... Thank you for being a part of my 2018. 

As we head into 2019, I intentionally choose 3 words each year to serve as guideposts throughout the year. (It's a practice I started in 2014, after learning about it from Chris Brogan.) 

The words help keep me "in my lane" and focused on the goals I want to achieve during the year. 

Does that mean I'm perfectly focused? Not by a long shot.

There are some words that I should probably roll over into the next year because I simply didn't follow my own advice and got off-course during the year. But that's for another post...

One thing I did do in 2018 was that I did a monthly check-in with myself and my three words, which I will do again in 2019. (Try it! Just set a reminder or event on your calendar to show up each month.) 

I also used my goal-setting strategy to make sure that I wasn't over-extending myself (so that I could really accomplish all that was on my plate) and to keep balance in my personal and professional life. 

I've got three new words for 2019, which represent where I'm currently at and where I want to be by the end of the year. 

There are some big milestones that will happen in 2019 as well as some new adventures, so my words reflect the thoughts that surround those impending events, too. 


I chose practice because it means two things to me. the first has to do with doing the daily work. When I was coaching athletes, I made sure that we had a structured practice plan and that we maximized our time together. 

Often, my athletes would say that the games were "easier" than the practices, because their limits were challenged many times during each practice so that when game time arrived, they would be ready for any physical, mental, or emotional challenge. 

The word Practice is my reminder throughout the year to do the daily work, and remember that it all adds up. 

This past year, one of my words was LIFT. I wanted to lift others up as well as get myself to the gym more. I was able to do both, and I want to continue to be consistent with coaching and lifting up others as well as taking care of myself. 

Practice is also a reminder to tackle those things that I'm not good at. If I shy away from certain things because I'm not good at them, then I'll never be good at them. 

I want to keep trying new things, whether it's something personal or professional, and even especially when they scare me and when I have room to grow. 


My next word was inspired by a blog post written by Joe Jacobi, where he shares that one of his words is Actions (read his post for the inspiring event that helped him choose the word.) 

Then, as I was reading through Chris Brogan's previous posts, I saw that he had chosen Execute for one of his words for 2018. A light bulb went off. 

When I think of the word execute, it means to me to do something well (like, "They executed the basketball play well.") I also think of carrying out plans and acting on intentions. 

Merriam-Webster defines EXECUTE as this:

     ~ to carry out fully : put completely into effect

     ~  to do what is provided or required by

     ~  to make or produce (something, such as a work of art) especially by carrying out a design

     ~  to perform what is required to give validity to

So while Practice is about doing the daily work and getting better at something, Execute is about facing fears and "pushing the button." 

I want the new year to be full of actions and not regrets, and I'm looking forward to having these two words to guide me. 


My first two words are practice and execute... they have to do with actions. BE is a word that in my mind is the opposite. 

It's about letting go of the need to achieve and filling the space with acceptance. 

It's about embracing peace and being fully present for myself and others. 

It's about having faith and love and knowing that I am who I am and that I am enough. 

Join the movement and share your three words on twitter using the hashtag #my3words. Feel free to tag me, too. I want to be your cheerleader!

My Past 3 Word Choices

2014 - Discipline. Intentional. Balance.

2015 - Rhythm. Bravery. Fitness.

2016 - Focus. Purpose. Do.

2017 - Pivot. Go. Grow.

2018 - Lift. Create. Relentless.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Top 10 Blog Posts of 2018

I've spent the past few days reflecting on the past year... the challenges, the highs and lows, and of course, the celebrations. I like taking a few days at the close of the calendar year to disconnect and prepare for the new year ahead. As for me, I do a lot of visualizing, writing goals, and crafting my three words for the new year

Part of looking ahead for me is looking back. There are mistakes I want to avoid repeating, skills I want to continue to grow, and relationships I want to continue to cultivate. As a recovering perfectionist, my need to review events is becoming more about learning and less about judging. 

I'm so grateful for all of you who read and comment on my blog posts. I love being a part of the Compelled Tribe, the community of bloggers that I lead along with Craig Vroom and Jon Wennstrom. I've learned so much from all of the interactions on twitter and through blogging with the tribe members as well as many other talented writers who push my thinking and contribute to my personal and professional growth.  

It's always exciting to do this year-end round up of the top 10 posts from the year. I always get caught up in reading and re-reading (and trying not to judge myself!) There are always one or two posts that surprise me in their rankings, and this year the surprise was that the top post has had over 34,000 views. (Don't skip ahead!)

Thank you for being a part of my 2018. I hope all of you have a wonderful new year!

If you're a blogger and write a Top Ten round up, please be sure to tag me on twitter!

Related Posts:
Best of 2017: Top Ten Blog Posts
Readers' Favorite Posts of 2016
My Top 10 Posts of 2015
Best of 2014: Top 10 Posts of the Year
Top 10 Blog Posts of 2013

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Monday, December 17, 2018

COMPELLED: Week 15 - Joy

Welcome to the final week of a 15-week series where I share quotes, examples, and/or stories about 15 of the characteristics that I believe are demonstrated by Compelled Educators everywhere. 

I hope you will share your favorite quote or story each week in the comments below. You can also leave a comment on the Compelled Educator Facebook page

I'm a huge fan of school. I loved all the schools I attended... elementary (I went to two elementary schools), junior high, and high schools (I went to two high schools). 

I had a rough time when my daughters got to middle school and high school, because they didn't enjoy school like I did. Actually, they didn't enjoy it very much at all. 

My youngest daughter disliked school the most, and much of why she didn't like school is because she didn't like having to "do school." 

She loves to learn and can tell me a lot about many subjects, but she definitely didn't like the school procedures and rote learning that she was required to do. 

Both daughters talked to me about their teachers and lessons in their classes. They both had a few classes that they enjoyed, and the common denominator in all of the classes is a teacher filled with joy. 

It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge. 
- Albert Einstein

These weren't the teachers who always made the classes "fun," but they were teachers who were excited about what they were teaching, who celebrated students and enjoyed the company of their students, and made their classrooms inviting.

These teachers loved to learn and loved when their students were learning. They believed in their students more than the students believed in themselves, and they encouraged their students to keep learning, growing, and striving for excellence. 

These teachers not only possessed joy, but they knew how to bring out the joy in the students and through their learning. 

In an article by Nancy Barile, Building a Joyful Classroom: Top 10 Strategies Based on Education in Finland, she shares tips for blending joy and learning in a classroom. 

Here are a few ideas from her article:

  • Know each child. Learn about their lives outside of the classroom. Greet them by name. Build strong relationships.
  • Provide choices that allow students to make connections between content and their personal interests and passions. 
  • Create assignments where students have to prove their learning. Have them to defend their choices and answers and "show their work." 

Previous posts in this series:

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