I came across this story the other day so I thought I’d share it with you……………
A young woman was in her kitchen.
A pan of water was simmering on the stove.
She was making boiled eggs for breakfast.
He walked in.
Their eyes met…
She looked at him.
“Make love to me, here, right now!” she said.
They made love on the kitchen table.
“ I see, you couldn’t resist me, huh?” he said.
“ The egg timer is broken” she replied.
What an example of time management!
How would you like to achieve much more with much less time and effort? Sounds impossible?
Well that’s what many thousands of people around the world have been able to do in their work and in their personal lives by applying the powerful 80/20 Principle.
I was introduced to the 80/20 Principle by my coach and it has made a considerable difference to the way I approach projects. It is the one true principle of highly effective people and organisations that has stood the test of time. So what is it?
The 80/20 Principle, also known as The Pareto Rule, asserts that a minority of causes, input or effort usually leads to a majority of the results, outputs or rewards. Take literally this means that, for example, 80% of what you achieve in your job comes from 20% of the time spent. Thus for all practical purposes four-fifths of your effort is largely irrelevant! This is counter intuitive to what most people normally expect yet nevertheless there is considerable statistical evidence to back it up.
There are many different examples taken from all sorts of different fields. For example 20% of motorists cause 80% of accidents, 20% of your carpets are likely to get 80% of the wear, 20% of your clothes will be worn 80% of the time, 20% of those who marry comprise 80% of the divorce statistics, 20% of the population enjoy 80% of the wealth, 80% of problems come from 20% of the causes and there are many more.
So how can we use this to make a difference?
When you are trying to get more done in less time, focusing on the critical 20% is a time-saver.
We need to see what activities generate the most results and give them our appropriate attention. The point of the 80/20 Principle is to recognize that most things in life are not distributed evenly. Make decisions on allocating time, resources and effort based on this e.g. rather than spending 3 hours to read 3 articles in detail (which may not be relevant to you), spend 5 minutes glancing through 12 articles (1 hour) and then spend an hour each on the two best ones (2 hours).
When we don’t have time to accomplish all of the tasks that are presented to us we need to be very careful about how we allocate our time so that we get optimum results especially if only 20 % of all the tasks that you do during the day really matter. The main value of the 80/20 Principle in time management is in reminding you to stay focused on that 20 %. It’s critical that you identify and focus on the 20% of high value tasks and activities that can get you 80% of the results that you want.
We very often have a distorted idea of how long things take.
The best way to get a clear picture of how you are currently allocating your time is to note down what you do and when you do it. This can then be used to identify your top 20%.
So are you spending your time on the top 20% ? What would happen if you did?
Until next time,
with best wishes for your success,
Cath Daley Ltd.