20% effort, 80% results

You have probably heard of the 80 / 20 rule, but do you apply it in your life?

I was reminded of this after a conversation this afternoon with a friend, and he mentioned how he was challenged with juggling all his daily tasks in his office.

The 80 /20 rule is a simple principle which has been proven to apply in a lot of situations. This states that 20% of what you do is responsible for 80% of the results.

This means that in almost anything, a few activities (20%) are vital and most activities (80%) are trivial.

The value of the 80/20 rule in your life is that it reminds you to focus on the 20% that matters. Of the things you do during your day, only 20% really, really matter.

Those 20% produce 80% of your results. Identify and focus on those things. You can apply the 80/20 Rule to almost anything, both in your life and at work.

For example,

– 80% of emails received and sent out are trivial
– 80% of phone calls made at work are a waste of time
– 80% of your sales will come from 20% from your customers
– 80% of what you learn will come in the 20% of your learning time

Conversely, if you turn around the above statements, then you can make some remarkable life changes:-

– You only need to send out 20% of the emails and make 20% of the phone calls you make currently, and your outcome will still be the same!
– You can phenomenally increase the amount you learn in the same time
– You can make yourself much more productive by cutting out all the trivial activities in your life such as surfing the web

So everyday, start the day by identifying the 20% of the work that must be done – schedule this for the beginning of the day. If any fire-fighting activities show up in your work day, then make sure they don’t impinge on the time allocated for the 20% of your key activities.

If you work for yourself at home, then make sure the 20% doesn’t include routine manual tasks such as filing etc. Constantly focus on the 20% you need to focus on. If in the course of the day, something has to slip and get postponed then just make sure it is not part of that 20%.

Most people spend 80% of their energies on perfecting the last 20% when it is not really necessary. From today onwards, make sure you are not one of them.

9 Smart Ways to Focus in the Age of Distraction


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