Being in the throes of life can seem overwhelming, not to mention running a successful business. There is so much to do but so little time. You are constantly running around, responding to emails, answering and making phone calls, amongst a whole myriad of other things. All this hard work must surely mean you are getting the best possible outcomes from your time. Or, it is likely, more often than not, you are spreading yourself too thin.
Wouldn’t it be great to devote your time to things you love and that give you the most reward? Time is precious, so here are some simple ways to become a lot more efficient and get the most out of your limited time.
The 80/20 rule or The Pareto Principle
The 80/20 rule, also known as the Pareto Principle was named after Vilifredo Pareto whose work included the law of income distribution, whereby he demonstrated a predictable distribution of wealth in society. That is, 80% of the wealth was held by 20% of the population. He developed the principle by observing that 80% of the peas in his garden were contained within just 20% of the pea pods. This is idea has become a common concept in business whereby, for example, 80% of sales come from 20% of your customers.
Now take a step back and try and apply this theory to your personal and business life – What are the 20% causes to your 80% problems? Is it that you are spending the majority of your time on customers who do not provide the majority of your revenue? Are you spending the majority of your time on tasks that are simply eating your time and energy with no reward at the end? Do you have other problems like communication skills or time management?
It is very difficult to take a step back and dissect your life and realise that you may in fact have done things ‘wrong’, you are usually far too close to be objective. Try to look at it from another angle, or put yourself in someone else’s shoes. Once you apply this principle and eliminate time wasting, you will become significantly more efficient, thereby having time to focus on those worthwhile tasks.
Easier said than done, right? However, burning the midnight oil is no fun, and you’re not fooling anyone, you are becoming tired, less focused and losing productivity. We have the tendency to bite off more than we can chew, but you will get more done when you delegate tasks to those who are better at them than you are. The opportunity cost of an expert completing a task is that you would have wasted significant amounts of time doing the task rather than doing many other things that you should be doing.
Although planning a task may seem tedious and time consuming, most efficient people sit down and determine the approach they will take to complete a task. This is vital, so you are better able to determine any issues and the best approach to take. Planning inevitably streamlines your processes which eliminates time wasting.