By Michael Gidlewski
A principle that operates in every area of our life and one that can help you become more effective is the 80/20 Pareto Principle.
Simply put, approximately 20% of the activities you spend your time, attention, and energy on will produce 80% of the results. We call those your High Payoff Activities.
This means that only a small part of your activity is vital and contributes the most towards your goals and accomplishments.
Typically, this means that if you have a list of 10 items to do, two of those items will turn out to be worth as much or more than the other eight items put together. It is not the hours you put in; it is what you put in the hours that count.
And how much time do you spend doing ‘stuff’ that keeps you busy, but not the important things that make you successful? High Achievers understand that there is a big difference between activity and results and that’s the key to their success.
What would happen to your organization if you implemented the 80/20 rule? Imagine the time you would have if you eliminated the nonproductive low payoff activities across the board and replaced them with high payoff activities.
Understanding and implementing The Pareto Principle can be helpful by forcing you to focus on that handful of things that will ultimately make the most significant contribution to your productivity and profits.
Adopt a mindset of doing first things first and focusing on what matters most. Every day, identify the most important things that will lead you to your goals and do them first. Then, take these steps to save time on the less important tasks.
Simplify & automate the least important tasks so they happen by themselves without thought, action, or attention on your part. Abandon the things that have outlived their usefulness, and delegate or outsource them if possible.
Always question LPA’s: Continually explore possible improvements in operations. What takes the most time? Can the complex be simplified? Where are the breakdowns? Are skills being properly used? Remove all bottlenecks. Redefine workflow patterns.
Learn to say no to the things that are not important regardless of how urgent they appear to be. Be courteous, give a brief explanation of your decline and learn to say no graciously.
Remember that Michelangelo created the masterpiece David, not by adding but by chiseling away everything that was not part of David. Let go of what does not serve you so that it does not bog you down and so that you may travel where you want to go more quickly and with less effort.
By harnessing the power of the 80/20 Rule and spending 80% of your time doing what you do best, your personal high payoff activities could unleash your productivity, enhance your performance, turbo-boost your career, and increase your performance personal wealth.