The world of productivity has several hacks or tricks to help you manage your time. The amount of time management tactics to productivity strategies out there is both amazing and overwhelming.
All of these strategies are great strategies in their own way, but one strategy stands above all else: ‘The 80 20 rule’. The 80 20 rule is one of the most helpful concepts for life and time management.
What Is The 80 20 Rule?
The 80 20 rule is also called the “Pareto Principle”. It was named after it’s founder, the Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, back in 1895. One day he noticed that 20% of the pea plants in his garden generated 80% of the healthy pea pods. This observation caused him to think about uneven distribution. He thought about wealth and discovered that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by just 20% of the population. He investigated different industries and found that 80% of production typically came from just 20% of the companies. The generalization became:
80% of results will come from just 20% of the action.
We can take Pareto’s 80 20 rule and apply it to almost any situation. Understanding the principle is essential to learning how to prioritize your tasks, days, weeks, and months. For the sake of this article we will apply this principle specifically to goal setting and productivity.
How Does the 80 20 Rule Work?
The pareto principle when applied to goal setting and productivity means that we should be spending 80% of our time on the top 20% of our tasks that are the most valuable and important. But we instinctively avoid it and opt for smaller tasks first, which are ‘trivial’.
We think that if we build up enough tasks completed that we feel motivated to finish that really big one later. But that’s really false hope at work. Once we finish off a lot of small tasks, we either feel drained or we tell ourselves we’ll do this the next day.
Apply the 80 20 rule for productivity
First, take a piece of paper and write down ten goals. Then ask yourself: If you could only accomplish one of the goals on that list today, which one goal would have the greatest positive impact on your life?
Then pick the second most important goal. What you’ll find is, after you complete this exercise, you will have determined the most important 20 percent of your goals that will help you more than anything else.
You should continue to work at those goals that you’ve chosen as the most valuable all the time.
The most valuable tasks you can do each day are often the hardest and most complex, but the payoff and rewards for completing them can be tremendous. The rule for this is: resist the temptation to clear up small things first.
The 80 20 rule is the productivity hack that many of us need and for good reason. As you can tell, it’ll help you to focus and prioritize the more important aspects of your life.
Not only that, but it’ll maximize those outputs at the same time and ensure you’re not spending too much time working at them. All you need to do is start asking questions and taking action.