Optimizing your Time Using the 80/20 Rule

The 80/20 rule or The Pareto Principle is a fundamental principle known to work in many situations. It states that for many events 80% of the effects come from only 20% of the causes. This is noteworthy particularly if you run your own business. Knowing this rule exists, how can you better organize your time to include the most important activities and reduce or remove the unnecessary? How much time do we spend being a ‘busy fool’ – wasting time doing things which amount to nothing? We should spend our time doing those essential things which make the most difference to our lives and avoid wasting time on the unproductive.

How many activities which we currently undertake actually produce the results we seek in life? Much of our time is spent doing those things which we feel we either must do or have been conditioned to do either by habit, culture or environment. By looking into your activities and results in life, you can be more mindful of how the results are created by the activities which you continue to do. Only by changing our habits can we expect a different outcome.

Insanity_ doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. - Albert Einstein

This is very true in most people’s lives. We continue to expect change but continue to do the same things over and over – wishing for a change in circumstance. We can forget that we are in charge of our lives and we can change course at any time if we want something different.

When we have all day to do a task we tend to fill that day with it. Parkinson’s Law states that “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”. So are we spending our time filling it with pointless tasks to feel like we are being productive or are we accomplishing the important? If you are running your own business it is important to recognize whether you are focused on results or on just filling up time with activity. We need to make sure our activities are the most productive things we can do for any given day so that we are not wasting our time.

How can we know this?

1. Is your business successful/ are you successful?

2. If not why not?

3. What is success for you?

4. What specific action can you do right now which will bring you the most beneficial outcome in your life?

5. What are the most productive daily actions which, if done over a length of time will bring you the best results?

If you have asked yourself these questions it may be that just by making small changes, massively different results can be achieved. You are not necessarily in the wrong business and you can adjust your action plan to make better use of your time and create greater outcomes – working smarter not harder.

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