You get to decide where your time goes. You can either spend it moving forward, or you can spend it putting out fires. You decide. And if you don’t decide, others will decide for you. ~ Tony Morgan
We all know how easy it is to get overwhelmed by our To Do lists dont we? Wouldn’t you like to know how to get more out of your time with less stress and effort. Well I have been a student of a very specific time and task management system that has helped me to dramatically increase both my productivity and the results I’m achieving.
There have been other benefits too. I have noticed that Iv’e stopped sweating the small stuff. I am taking things in my stride and I’m more relaxed overall. I’d have to put that down to feeling more on top of things and it’s clear that with this change in approach to managing my tasks, that I’m gaining ground and making steady and systematic progress towards my life and business goals.
The system I am talking about is based on the Pareto Principle which is a a mathematical law that says, in most situations 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. That means that most people obtain 80% of their important and effective results from only 20% of their actual effort.
So what does that have to do with time management?
Well if you can identify the 20% of actions that get you the highest result and reward – and do more of that; and identify the tasks that steal your time but get you little or not reward (based on your life plan or business objectives) and do less of that, you will surely see better results in less time.
I would say that is a recipe for a happier, more productive (profitable) and more fulfilled life.
Here’s a brief outline of how to use the Pareto Principle to manage your time more effectively.
When you make a “to do” list, prioritize each item by the amount of effort required (1 to 10, with 1 being the least amount of effort) and the potential positive results (1 to 10, with 10 being the highest impact.)
Now divide the potential positive results by the amount of effort requited. This will give you “priority” ranking. The key now is to do the items with the lowest resulting priority number first. Here’s a simple example:
Task 1: Write report on trip meeting.
Effort=10, Result=2, Priority=5
Task 2: Prepare presentation for marketing.
Effort=4, Result=4, Priority=1
Task 3: Call current customer about referral.
Effort=1, Result=10, Priority=0.1
See your new priority-based order?
You do Task 3 first, Task 2 second, and Task 1 last–if at all.
This simple method ensures that the 20% of your effort that really makes a difference always gets done first. As for the 80% that doesn’t really matter, well it is neatly shelved, automatically postponed if you like, and possibly tabled forever.
So now it’s time for you to take up the challenge to make more out of less time.