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Are you puzzled as to why you are working harder than everyone else around you and not seeing the rewards? How can this be possible? What are you doing with your time?

The majority of time is wasted because there is not enough thought, care and effort put into how we spend our time wisely. If we thought and planned on how best to use our time, we may just find that all we have to focus on is a small number of activities – 20% – to reap 80% of results.

The 80/20 Principle

The 80/20 principle means that in anything we spend our time on – as little as 20% are truly crucial. The remainder 80% of our time is spent on insignificant or pettish things.

What this means is to:

  • work less
  • worry less
  • waste less
  • live more
  • succeed more
  • enjoy more

Spending your time wisely is to be more productive with maximum satisfaction by focusing on your passion, the things you love to do the most – 80% of your outcomes come from 20% of your inputs. When you are tapping into your creativity and do what you love most, your work is effortless.

From a business perspective, an example would be: 20% of employees are responsible for 80% of a company’s output or 20% of customers are responsible for 80% of the revenues. Interesting paradigm, don’t you think?

How to Apply the 80/20 Principle

The first thing is to determine: what exactly are you passionate about? It’s pretty easy, what do you love to do? Focus your energies on what you enjoy and reduce the amount of time you spend at a job that you don’t like and increase the amount of time you spend on your passion.

Let me ask you this. What wasted time performing activities are you doing on a daily basis and what kind of results are you getting in return? This includes the times you procrastinate or do activities that provide little benefit.

When you apply this 80/20 principle and make the best of it you need to be asking yourself – ‘what kind of work can I do (20%) that will bring me the most reward (80%)? For example, if you enjoy writing and you spend 20% of your time writing, your articles can generate business opportunities, expose you and your expertise. You are spending your time wisely because you are doing what you love. You are working smarter because that one activity will help you meet new customers, make more money, inspire others and collaborate with other platforms to give you greater exposure. You will make a difference and experience immense satisfaction all at the same time.

So, all you have to do is to review what activities and what time spent is generating business opportunities and revenue. There is this misconception that we have to work hard and long hours to be successful and reap our rewards. Working smarter is working fewer hours for more results.

It is crucial to work through your 80/20 ratios for maximum performance, motivation and success. Find the products or services that generate the most income (20%) and dump the rest (80%) that provide minimal profit. Spend your time working on the parts of the business that you can improve significantly with your talents and leave the tasks that are outside your best 20% to other people. Work hardest on elements that work hardest for you.

What Results Can You Expect?

When you start to analyse and unpack your daily tasks or activities it’s very clear to see your points of focus. Everything that works in harmony is your 20%; avoid wasting time on those 80% activities that produce little satisfaction for you.

Using 80/20 principle is an extremely powerful tool when properly applied to grow your business – for example, if you can evaluate which 20% of your time produces 80% of your business results – you can then spend more time on those activities and less time on others. Additionally, by identifying the characteristics of the top 20% of your customers that represent 80% of your revenue will guide you to find more customers like them and dramatically grow your business.

In a work environment, 20% of your employees will cause 80% of your problems and another 20% of your employees will provide 80% of your results. It works both ways.

The value as a company, a business or an entrepreneur is to focus on the 20% that matters and that produce 80% of the results.

Don’t just work smart – work smart on the right things. Getting busy is not what makes you rich or successful. And… don’t feel guilty about doing less, the most productive people are the ones that take some downtime to give them the space to think and create.

Take Action – Stop Wasting Time!

So what…

  • 20% of your input are you going to create for you 80% of the result
  • 20% of your employees produce 80% of your result
  • 20% of your customers create 80% of your revenue

Use the identified most effective offerings more. For instance, focus on rewarding the employees that bring in the results and find more of them; same applies with your customers that bring in your greatest revenue, focus on satisfying them and find more of them. The point is to realise that you can often focus your effort on the 20% that makes a difference, instead of the 80% that doesn’t add much.

It’s a remarkably and quick easy way to assess, understand, and optimise virtually any situation involving work, business, organisational development and personal life.

Leadership becomes a lot easier and extremely useful in planning, analysis, trouble-shooting, problem solving, decision-making and change management when you apply 80/20 principles. Moreover, it is extremely helpful in bringing clarity to complex situations and problems, especially when deciding where to focus effort and resources:

  • quality management
  • planning
  • decision-making
  • general performance management

It encourages a focus of activity and energy that usually produces very fast and substantial improvements.

It’s easier than you think. Your starting point is to:

  • Identify the 20% that is vital, which enables 80% of productivity, performance and effectiveness
  • Retain this 20% focus and nothing else, unless it serves an imperative purpose
  • Test effectiveness and implications of the reduced 20% focus

To apply and roll this principle 80/20 rule into your environment make sure you have clear communication as to why the change of focus. Have a suggested offering and explain the alternatives for options that no longer serve a purpose.

What are you going to do to stop wasting time?