Focus on Activities, Not Accomplishments
Do you feel as though you are working long and hard but achieving minimal results? Do you have the sensation that you are 80 hours a week, but you are not achieving the level of success you think you should have by now? Do you see other people accelerating past you, and you ask yourself “what am I doing wrong?”
Consider whether you are focusing your time on high value activities. It’s not enough to have great work ethic, knowledge, skills and attitude. You must have great time management skills. Time management is really the management of your life. Above average achievers focus their time on the high value activities. You too can achieve more success by focusing on the tasks that only you can do, the ones that will lead you closer to your goals.
Many of us are focused on producing a lot of output. We love to see lots of check marks on our task lists. It makes us feel like we have accomplished something when we see all the tasks come of the list. We love the feeling of accomplishment. Unfortunately, quite often we procrastinate on the most important tasks on the list in favour of accomplishing more tasks overall.
The 80/20 rule may help you to focus on the important activities. The 80/20 rule is also known as the Pareto Principle, named after it’s founder, an Italian economist who first wrote about it in 1895. According to the book Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy, Pareto “found in his studies that society divides itself into the top 20% in terms of money and influence and the trivial many fell into the 80%....Research concluded that this rule applied to all economic activities…20% of your activities will lead to 80% of your results….20% of your customers will account for 80% of your sales….20% of your products or services will account for 80% of your profits…and 20% of your tasks will account for 80% of the value of what you do.”
Review your list of tasks and prioritize them according to the 80/20 rule.
Two out of ten of the tasks on your list will be worth five or ten times more than the other combined. It’s not about being busy, it’s about being focused on the top 20% of your tasks.
Next time you proceed to tackle your long list of tasks take a moment to identify the to top 20% of the activities on your list. Resist the urge to complete all the small tasks first – the less important 80%. Focus on your important activities rather than completing a lot of less significant activities. By applying the 80/20 rule you will begin to see more success towards reaching your goals.
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