Following this simple rule will immediately help you hone your business strategy, increase your productivity, and get you closer to your goals.
Have you ever met someone who always seems busy—but if you asked what they’ve accomplished in the last day, or the last week, they couldn’t give you a straight answer?
Maybe, if you’re being totally honest, this happens to you, too?
Let’s face it. Being truly productive in today’s business world is more difficult than ever. Yes, technology has made us much more efficient in many ways, but it also comes with great challenges: The constant bombardment of dings and notifications and emails and phone calls and texts can throw even the most type-A, goal-oriented businessperson out of focus.
Aside from technological challenges, business owners feel more pressure than ever to chase the next shiny object, quickly spreading themselves thin. With so many “important” things vying for our attention, it’s no wonder some people manage to accomplish very little. Still, others seem to remain productive consistently, despite the distractions.
So, what’s their secret?
In my experience speaking to hundreds of business owners throughout the years, it comes down to whether they follow a simple principle called the 80/20 rule: 20% of the actions lead to 80% of the results. Too many business owners spend 80% of their time on tasks that produce only 20% of the value for their business. And they procrastinate the one or two activities that could make a real impact—the 20% that can make 80% of the difference.
There are several ways to apply the 80/20 rule in your business to help you keep your productivity in check. If you really think about it, you’ll notice that not only do about 20 percent of your daily tasks account for 80 percent of your success, but that 20 percent of your clients bring you 80 percent of your revenue. And that 20 percent of your marketing efforts yield 80 percent of your leads. The list goes on.
I encourage you to think of all the ways that this rule applies to your business. The moment you do, you’re on the path to more growth. To help get you started, here are three Ptex Practical Pointers for implementing the 80/20 rule in your business:
1. Divide your daily activities into two categories.
Create a list of tasks that you do on a daily basis within your business. Then divide them between those that are aimed at working “on” your business—the tasks that push your strategic vision forward—and those that are more about working “in” your business—those aimed at keeping your operations going on a day-to-day basis.
2. Drop or delegate the low-value “in your business” tasks.
You will probably find that you’re doing many things that you could easily delegate to someone else, or drop altogether. Doing so will allow you to focus on the more impactful tasks that will further your long-term goals. (Not sure where to start? Download our guide to learn the Art of Delegation.)
3. Resist the urge to start the day with low-value tasks.
Most people want to get the low-impact busy-work out of the way first thing in the day, but it’s important to make sure to start your day on the right foot, with the high-value tasks that make the most impact. In addition, at least 80 percent of your day should be spent on the high-value tasks you identified in Step #1.
Time is our most precious asset, and we all only have 24 hours in a day. The only way to truly be productive is to figure out what tasks (and clients, and strategies) yield the greatest payoff for your business. This simple yet powerful rule of thumb will help you stay focused on the big picture, zero in on your strategic plan, and spend less time chasing the next shiny object.
From this small change in your mindset, you’ll see big results in your business—which is perhaps proof in itself that the 80/20 rule really does work.
If you want to stop dealing with hundreds of overwhelming tasks and free up more time to grow your business, I encourage you to download our guide to learn how to “Master the Art of Delegation.”