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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