Do you apply the 80-20 rule at work?
You’ll notice, and be noticed for, far greater efficiency and effectiveness in your role if you do.
You know what matters and you actually do it.
Based on the premise that the minority of causes create the majority of effects, '80-20' can be seen at work, anywhere and everywhere.
But its impact can really be felt in your workplace.
The 80-20 rule, or 'Pareto Principle', is based on the idea that a relatively small percentage of any cause (20%) creates most of the subsequent effects (80%).
This applies to pretty much everything you related to what you do.
Whatever task, project, role or goal you have, tackle it with the 80-20 rule in mind.
Try this five step sequence:
You’ve just successfully applied the 80-20 rule!
Let me explain…
It all starts before Step 1.
When you’re actually working on something directly related to your work, you’re 'on task'. Your entire to-do list is the 20% that produces 80% or more of results.
If something is on your to-do list, you put it there for a reason. We don’t often write down emotionally charged responses -- lists are rooted in rational thinking.
Trust yours. Do the things on your list and you do what actually matters.
Okay, let’s take it to the next level…
Let’s say you have a list of 10 things to do today.
One or two of them (10-20%) will make the biggest impact (80% or more) on your productivity.
Look through your list. Which are the top activities that give you the most ‘bang for your buck’?
For example, this website. The top value activity I can do is writing words.
Research, planning, organizing tools, data and resources all have to be done. Designing the look of the web pages won’t happen by itself either. They all need to be tackled, but in proportion to what really matters -- writing words that will be read.
To get the best of the Pareto Principle, ask yourself…
“Does what I’m about to do matter?”
Is there something else that would make a bigger difference?
If you’re not doing it, can you justify to yourself why not?
That leads on nicely to the next question…
The answer to this one is straightforward...
Because doing what matters is less fun than doing what doesn’t!
We all need some down time. Regular breaks make for better quality work. Breaks can mean completely switching off, or doing easy tasks (see Quadrants 3 and 4 of the time matrix).
But breaks don’t get results; focused action does. And that, more often than not, is hard work. It taxes body and brain to make real progress.
The best solution is, as is so often, the simplest:
Think 80-20, act 20-80, and supercharge your time management at work!