Do you know that you get 80% of your results from just 20% of your time and effort and consequently 80% of your time is virtually wasted on non-productive activities? Once you realize this, it’s easy to take advantage and either reduce the hours you work or significantly improve your productivity.
The 80-20 rule was first discovered by Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto a hundred years ago. The rule means that in any area of our lives, literally 80 percent of our fruits are derived from only 20 percent of doing “what matters”. In other words, there is only a very small portion of all that we do each day, regardless of the situation, that brings us the “higher return”. Using this knowledge is incredibly powerful in combating the “not enough hours in the day” mentality of today’s society.
How can you benefit from being aware of this principle? Implementing a strategy based on the 80-20 rule can result in greater wealth and greater leisure time. Just imagine how productive you will be if 80% of your time could be spent on productive activities. The bottom line is that the things that matters most should never be at the mercy of activities that matter least.
Start maximizing your productivity with these 5 steps:
- Keep a work log for at least a week. Write down all of your activities and the time spent doing them. Yes, this may be time consuming initially but it is essential that you get a true picture of your working week.
- Analyze your activities. Separate your activities into high priority – those that produce a return or where only you have the skills to do the work – and low priority – activities others can do where the activity can be delegated to support staff. You will almost certainly find that you are spending most of your time on low-priority activities rather than activities directly providing a return. In almost all businesses, these non-productive activities tend to absorb time at a far greater rate than they should.
- Delegate non-productive activities. Once you can identify the low priority activities, delegate as many as possible to support staff (providing training where required). If necessary, employ an additional member of staff to take responsibilities – the cost will be more than offset by your improved productivity. There may be a number of low priority activities you are tempted to keep. Unless it is absolutely unavoidable don’t be tempted and don’t get involved in non productive activities or your productivity will fall.
- Calculate the time required for any remaining low priority activities. Once you have delegated all that you can, your next step is to calculate how much time you should be spending on the remaining low priority activities to make maximum use of your productive time. Don’t work disproportionately hard on these low priority activities and set aside specific time each day or week to complete them.
- Prioritize your remaining activities. Once you’ve cleared out the activities that don’t bring you any return, it’s time to turn your attention to the activities in your life that are bringing the most reward. Prioritize your activities and concentrate most of your time just on a few high-priority activities.
The objective throughout is to maximize your results from the areas of high return and to delegate those activities that have a low return. Spending a disproportionate amount of time on non-productive activities is a major source of stress for many businessmen. Delegating these activities will therefore have the added benefit of reducing the stress you are under; it’s all about doing less work for greater return.
For more success in life, whether that’s more money, more time with your family or just making time for golf, you should start implementing the 80-20 rule immediately. It will help your career as well as your personal life and, as a bonus, following the 80-20 rule day in and day out can make you very wealthy over the long term.
Are you currently making the most of your time? What do you find to be the “time draining” activities in your daily activities? Do you think the 80-20 rule can help you?