Near the turn of the 20th century, Vilfredo Pareto observed that 80 percent of the wealth in Italy was owned by 20 percent of the population. His theory has been widely applied to all aspects of business, from quality control to time management.
Here are some of the ways the 80-20 rule can improve your work habits:
You achieve 80 percent of your goals by working on 20 percent of your daily tasks. Learn to recognize which tasks and actions will move you closer to accomplishing your goals and make those a top priority on your daily to-do list.
Just 20 percent of your effort produces 80 percent of your business results. Investigate which tasks make the most effective use of your time and energy.
When it comes to business periodicals and educational reading, 80 percent of the value you receive comes from 20 percent of the material out there. Determine which magazines, journals and books produce the most value for you in your particular business, and forget about the rest.
It’s likely that 20 percent of your co-workers give you 80 percent of the support you need to thrive and succeed. Identify who has your back and be sure to return the favor. Make it a priority to enhance your most valuable relationships and acknowledge the ways they make your job and work life easier.
As much as 80 percent of the value your customer receives comes from 20 percent of what your company does. Make an effort to find out what your customer judges you and your business upon and do those things with excellence.
And just 20 percent of your time management habits will cause 80 percent of your productivity problems and challenges. If you stop and pay attention to what you are doing or not doing, you will see that most of your time challenges boil down to one or two bad habits, such as lack of organization or lack of prioritizing. Take the time to identify your one or two habits and commit to working to improve them.
During the next week or two, take a look at where the 80-20 rule is showing up in your business life. At the end of two weeks, make it a priority to use what you’ve learned to adjust the way you organize, delegate or carry out tasks to make the most of this 80-20 principle in your business.
- Victoria Buckmann has 25 years of sales experience and had a successful corporate career with a Fortune 100 company.