We all want to achieve success in our lives. Most of us will set goals and try our best to achieve them. But in reality, there is more to it than just setting goals. Along the way, they may have been involved in inefficient activities or have wasted a lot of their precious time. Other than persevering, successful people such as Brian Tracy have emphasize on the importance of time management, and the rule that will help you or your business the most – The 80/20 Rule.
Here’s a quick history lesson. The 80/20 rule was discovered by an Italian economist named Vilfredo Pareto. In the early 1900s, he noticed that in his country, 20% of the people owned 80% of the country’s wealth. He observed that this division occurred naturally and later develop the Pereto Principal, one of the most effective and commonly used concepts to time management.
Following this rule, it is said that 20% of your activities will account for 80% of your results. 20% of your tasks will be responsible for 80% of the value you produce. In a product, 20% of its defects could be accountable for 80% of the problems. 80% of your company’s profits could be generated by only 20% of the products.
This means that if you have a long list of ten tasks to complete, you should choose to complete the two tasks that will bring you the most value first. Don’t simply start by doing the easier task, for it may not have as large of an impact or value as compared to the rest.
Sometimes, less is more. It doesn’t always mean that doing more and more will bring you more product or value. Over the past few years, tons of businesses, economists, leaders, and decision makers have applied this principle to propel their agenda and achieved unparalleled success. Other than businessmen, psychologists have also agreed that using this rule helps ambitious people become more productive and achieve their goals in a shorter period of time.
You might have also seen people who work long hours but seem to accomplish little at the end. This is because they did not choose to complete the tasks that brings the most value or profits first. Always choose to eat the biggest frog first.
1. Examine all your tasks and start with the one that produces the greatest results, increase productivity
Some of us have a to-do list and we enjoy striking off the tasks done. Yes, the feeling is very shiok. However, this has caused us to selectively choose to complete the easier tasks first. Complete the easier tasks first, strike them off, feel good about it but at the of the day, the value and product created is not high. The most important task might not be done at all.
Focus on the quality instead of the quantity. Regardless if it’s a list of chores or work, always tackle the task of the greatest value first. Focus and try to generate the most significant results. Prioritize.
2. If you are in sales, understand that 20% of your customers generate 20% of your profits
It is not a very smart move if you try to catch all of the fishes in the lake. Take note of the few customers that generate majority of your revenue and learn to invest most of your time in them. Work harder and spend more time understanding these 20% and you will probably notice a rise in your sales record.
3. Improve your customer service using the 80/20 rule
Sometimes, 80% of complaints are directed at 20% of problems. Observe and analyze the problems and try to narrow down the common issues that customers are complaining about. Most likely, the majority of them are unhappy about the same thing. Focus all your attention and try to fix the main issue. Once it is done, you may realise that most of your customers suddenly become satisfied and happy.
4. 80/20 rule is the shortcut to skill mastery
This rule is important because in a way, it provides a shortcut to every skill you want to master. A shortcut to a learning a skill? Really meh?
Actually, using this rule means that it isn’t always necessary to learn everything about the process. Just focus on your main objective and make sure that is completed. Decide on a skill that you want to master and research about the main components of the skill. Focus on completing these major points and trust me, you will end up achieving more than those who spend most of their time working on minor details. Focus on the big picture, work on the most vital 20% that will give you 80% of the results. You will definitely accomplish more than those who work on the less important points.
An example, a guy who wants to learn how to play the piano leisurely. It doesn’t mean that he has to learn all the skills and take all the exams in order to play the songs that he likes. Simply focus on learning the basics of piano playing, how to count and the basic chords and I’m pretty sure he can play a simple version of “Ode to joy” or pop songs such as “All of me”.
5. Using the 80/20 rule to improve your health
We all know the importance of health. Without good health, it is probably hard to get anything done well. Using the 80/20 rule, you can balance physical fitness and a healthy diet. You can start by questioning and pinpointing the most important parts of your diet. For example, what are the distractions that is causing me to binge on junk food? What is stopping me from exercising? What are the good habits that I should keep? Which are the easy exercises that I know I can complete on a daily or weekly basis? Which are the biggest contributors to my unhealthy eating (such as work parties, holiday gatherings)?
Figure them out, choose to keep the right foods and activities and very soon you’ll see changes in your physical health.
6. Use the 80/20 to help you climb the career ladder
The Pareto Principle will also be a great help in your career. Everyone knows that they should work smart and not just work hard. But not many are actually able to do so.
With the 80/20 rule, it helps to sift through all the noise and identify what is vital and value adding. Commit your energies to the most important tasks instead of just blindly rushing through them all. Focus on the most important and value adding tasks and pass or delegate the other tasks. Completing the most important 20% will most likely help you generate 80% of the results you need to rise in your workplace.
7. Create more time for yourself
Use the 80/20 rule to manage your time. I’m sure that sometimes, most of us would feel really tired and busy and see our schedules packed with never ending meetings and appointments. You could be meeting different people everyday, be it for work or for personal meetings, and you will be spending so much time outdoors that you have no more time for yourself.
Well, there are people who enjoy it, but sometimes, having a little “me time” can really help you to rest and recharge. We all need a break sometimes.
Individuals should first analyze the activities that they spend time on. Look at each appointment carefully and you might find that 80% of the tasks are somewhat “time wasters”. Don’t get me wrong, your friends, family and work are important, but it’s just some of these appointments are the ones where we join because we are either too paiseh too reject, or that we fear peer pressure.
Imagine the amount of time one can save if they only retain the most important appointments and meetings in their lives. The extra time generated could be used for resting, hobbies, self-improvement and spending quality time with close friends and family.
Nonetheless, this concept is just a guide to help increase your productivity and better your life. It all boils down to the amount of self-discipline and determination you have. Other tips that will help you can be discarding of negative thoughts, focusing on your goals and embracing continuous learning. The world is always changing and one definitely needs an open mind in order to keep up!
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