The Pareto Principle (80/20 Rule) is here to help us and guide us during this time during the work from home realities. The world today recognizes being busy as being important. It looks like the more running around you do, and the more urgent things you have on your plate, the more respected you will be. Consider this – have you ever talked about how busy you are when a friend asks you how you were? Probably. We all do this.
Being busy does not always mean that we are being effective at making the changes we seek in our lives. In fact, it may mean the complete opposite – that we are losing time on things that really are not too important. That leaves us drained of energy and thinking about what it is all for.
The Pareto Principle, better known as the 80/20 rule, is a way to use your time efficiently so that you get more accomplished and are working on the correct activities. In short, the 80/20 rule says that approximately 20% of your effort yields 80% of your results. Coincidentally, the reverse is also true. There are tasks that take 80% effort, yet only yield 20% of your results. The objective, obviously, is to determine which tasks are which.
The simplest and quickest way to achieve your goals and reach your potential is to streamline your action items and to-do lists. Some tasks that do not make the grade (do not yield 80%) can be forgotten as being unimportant, while others may still need attention, but not necessarily by you. Those 20% yield tasks that still need to be finished can be outsourced so you are free to finish the creative tasks you are good at.
Here are six things to determine if an item is a 20% or an 80% task:
- Keep a list of outcomes available so you can review it throughout each day.
- Jot down each task that you need to accomplish for the day.
- Now, go through each task and compare it to your outcomes. Does it fit? From experience, how much effort did the item take? And what was the benefit? Is it worth it?
- If it is, but you do not need to do it, hand it off or outsource it to someone else.
- If it is not, mark a line through it and proceed on to the next task on your list.
- Use a simple tracking system to measure the results vs. the effort on each task or some other technique you use. This will help you determine if something is a 20% or 80% item for later.
The objective of this exercise is to keep firmly top of mind that not all activities give the same benefits. And that it is not necessary to implement every idea that you have. Choose only those that match up with your goals and will offer the most rewards.