No analysis of productivity would be complete without at least a mention of the 80/20 principle. The premise is that each task or event or anything really adheres to the ratio that 20 percent of whatever you do renders 80 percent of the results. The biggest idea here is that you should do only thing things that are yielding real results. Does checking your email over and over again yield results or does it make you feel busy?
Effort and results are not the same thing.
The first step in any endeavor is picking a direction. You need to decide on your goals, the direction you’re wanting to go, write that down. Review is it constantly. Below I will givce you a few examples of how to apply this from both a daily productivity standpoint, process development, and learning to delegate where possible.
The next question is how you get there. This will be an ever evolving process. You will have to analyze and re-analyze your daily activities and make sure that your goals and your actions are congruent. There is a mention of the following principle in many productivity books.
Also, you use this in helping yourself in the deconstruction of tasks. Take time to determine what the key components are. There is likely a way that you can deconstruct your primary tasks into smaller chunks and determine what is really important.
The first step in this is listing out all of your daily activities. You can use something like rescue time that actually tracks what application you are actually in. From there you can look at the items that you’ve worked on. Give yourself an honest assessment of what you’ve actually worked on. How much of your time was truly invested in those activities that can move the needle in your daily life?
Also one of the best uses of the 80/20 rule is to shift your resources around to get the most out of your efforts money or otherwise. Upon identifying an activity that yields huge results you should focus on that and add to it.
The best place to keep these notes is in your Evernote from day to day. This will allow you to track your daily output and watch yourself grown with being more productive. Constantly honing these activities into higher and higher levels of efficiency will increase your productivity and your quality of life. I personally feel that this principle is fundamental to changing your life
The worst thing you can do is be really effective at doing things that should not be done.
Additionally, you can use this principle to be very effective at cutting back on the things that do not yield results that you want. Are you wasting time reading email or playing on whatever the newest most popular social media site is? Track what you’re doing and how you’re spending time and it will really open your eyes.
See the trend I have noticed is that I am spending way too much time on email and not nearly enough on my primary tasks. So my first step is to borrow from Tim Ferriss and (do my best to) limit my email to only two sessions per day. I will have to limit this to after having set aside time to work on my main highest value tasks. These were set earlier when we discussed goal setting.
Your ability to stay on task is absolutely vital to getting your work done along with your feeling of accomplishment. Go through this exercise on a regular basis and watch as your productivity grows.
” Distraction is the enemy!”
Next we will look at our process. Here you’ll break down every step in a process. Let’s say it’s putting together a small website. You will want to list out all of the items that have to be accomplished to get that site up. After that you can create a checklist of daily, weekly, monthly items. Also, these should be included in your master list. This example also will show us a set of things that we can outsource because it may not be the best use of our time. When you apply the questions of dealing with the 80/20 rule you’ll be able to determine what those are.