tasks not only helps
you improve your time management and reduce stress, but it will also
help you achieve your more important goals. A universally recognized
method for maximizing productivity is called 80/20 rule, a common
‘rule of thumb’ also known as the Law of the Vital
Few. It has been proven to be highly effective for over 100 years.
The main concept behind this principle is that for many
events, approximately 80% of outcomes are produced by 20% of the
events. Applied to time management, the goal of using this method is in
identifying 20% of most vital activities that are likely to produce 80%
of the results, and then prioritize those important activities.
You’ll want to concentrate most of your time and effort on
completing those activities and, actually, reducing or eliminating the
Once you have identified you more important activities,
spend some time analyzing which ones are aligned with your core values,
vision and goals. Think of your long-term career goals, review your
company’s mission and priorities and how the two ties. This
is a very important step, because it if done appropriately (taking the
sufficient amount of time and with self-reflection) it will help you
avoid unnecessary frustration and wasted time associated with changing
direction and objectives.
Here how this rule may be applied in
- In Sales, you may want to spend 80 percent of your
time prospecting, as that is the source of your future revenue flow. At
the same time, applied to the existing customer base, perhaps 20
percent of those customers are responsible for majority of the revenue.
- In Management, the most important and impactful tasks
are likely related to growing, coaching and motivating your team,
ensuring it is working toward achieving the company’s
strategic goals. That is where 80 percent of time should be spent.
- For an individual contributor, the 80/20 rule can be
applied based on the company’s objectives. If the most
important objective is to quality, perhaps 80 percent of time and
effort should be dedicated to achieving that objective. If
it’s quantity, perhaps you can concentrate most of your
effort on finding ways to increase that metric while maintaining
Your priorities outside of work may be spirituality,
family and health. Make sure you keep the right perspective and
don’t get caught up in less significant activities and chores.
Apply the 80/20 rules to your current relationships and
ensure you preserve and cherish relationships with important people in
your life, both family and friends. Make sure you remember to include
the important activities in your life that help you improve your
physical, emotional and mental health – exercise, yoga,
Apply 80/20 rule to the tasks you need to accomplish on
a given day. First, write down everything that needs to be done.
Include all activities – your work on different projects,
lunch with co-workers, your trip to the company gym, etc. Next,
categorize each item based on the impact they will have if they are not
accomplished today. Those that will have significant consequence should
be marked as 1 (or A), those that will have lesser of a consequence if
not done today – 2 (or B), those that can be completed some
other day without a consequence – 3. Then among those that
are remaining see which you can delegate and the remaining could just
be eliminated. Go back to the bucket I and refine it further marking
the tasks 1-a, 1-b, 1c, etc. That will give you a good prioritization
list of tasks for that day.
Weekly planning sessions could be very effective.
Prioritizing on a weekly basis complements daily prioritization and
provides additional balance and context around your activities.
Businesses operates on weekly cycles, designating certain days
(typically Mon-Fri) to business investments and others (weekends) for
relaxation, rejuvenation and inspiration. Week is a single, complete
unit of time.
Spend an hour a week, ideally on Friday afternoon, on
going over what you have accomplished during the week, evaluating your
progress toward your goals and planning activities for next week. This
exercise will help put you in the right state of mind and reinforce
your vision for your success.
Communicate with coworkers effectively
- Communicate effectively by limiting conversations
with co-workers to most essential issues. Verbally communicate your
schedule to others so that they will know that you have a limited
amount of time available.
- You can minimize or limit the interruptions by:
- Screening phone calls and letting your voice mail
picking up the calls
- Not trying to do too many tasks at one time
- Using email instead of calling when that will
prevent you from getting into a lengthy conversation.
Take notes during the meetings or phone
Learn to take good notes during your interactions with
coworkers, clients or your boss. In business, most people overlook this
simple yet critical time-saving skill. You can face significant time
loss when you try to recollect the details or having to revisit
different situations to refresh your memory. It is common to use a
simple composition note book to write down all the important points.