When Vilfredo Pareto discovered that 80% of his peas came from 20% of the pea pods in his garden, an a-ha moment was had.
He did also find that 80% of Italy’s land was owned by 20% of its people. But I like the peapod tale better. It’s slightly more uplifting! 😉
Do you know what else is quite encouraging? 80% of our results come from 20% of our efforts.
Or that’s the theory at least. And I’d like to explore it with you.
What’s working for you right now?
We’re so often focused on the elements of our life or business that aren’t going as well as we’d like that we forget to give attention to the things that are going swimmingly.
I don’t know about you, but I’m also quite good at fannying around not achieving very much at times.
When I’m productive, I’m VERY productive.
And when I’m in distraction territory, I’m very good at being busy but not achieving very much at all.
Perhaps it’s an 80/20 split? Or should that be 20/80?
Maths never was my strong point.
Where does your focus best serve you?
We all have a bunch of routine tasks we’ve baked into our day that we don’t give much thought to.
But what if 80% of the things you are doing are just a massive waste of time?!
We all say we don’t have enough time, don’t we?!
Well, what if we identified the 20% of the boombasticness we do that works so well. And if we spent more time doing that?
The results would probably be pretty fantastic.
Or here’s an idea. What if we did that 20% of incredibly effective stuff… and spent the rest of the time doing things we love… rather than on all that ‘busy work’ that’s kinda fruitless.
Busy work Vs Productive work
There are a whole bunch of tasks that we do routinely and class as important in our business. But it’s really worth taking a step back and looking at the outcomes of each task.
Are they actually providing value, or have they just become a fruitless habit?
Busy work is the things you do that when put under the microscope, make little difference to the outcomes in your life or business.
Productive work is the things you channel energy and time into that actually produce something worthwhile.
So how do we stop getting caught up doing tasks and activities that yield no tangible benefits?
We ask WHY!
Why am I doing this? What is the purpose of doing this task? Is it necessary or just something that’s become routine but serves no real function?
What does your audience want?
Probably the most important consideration to give to your marketing activities is what your audience wants. So you can spend your time doing that, rather than trying to punt stuff that’s just not working.
Sounds obvious, doesn’t it? But we can lose sight of it quite easily.
Which are your most popular services or products? Who are your customers who return time and time again?
Are you spending time trying to encourage enthusiasm for your less popular products or services?
Are you nurturing your existing client base and upselling to them?
Or are you constantly on the hunt for the next shiny thing or influx of followers?
The 80/20 rule tells us lots of interesting things. But let’s focus on the insight it gives us into our squirrelling habits.
80% of your sales come from 20% of your products
20% of your customers generate 80% of your profits
Busy doing nothing
Let’s remove the glamour of being busy. When we find ourselves in a swamp of busy, multitasking our butts off, we’re actually damaging our productivity levels.
Focus on one meaningful task at a time, and watch your productivity soar.
Research tells us that for most, we have 4-5 hours a day in us of real productive high energy work. So what are we doing with all the other hours we spend in busyland?!
Well, mostly faffing around with unnecessary tasks that leave us feeling overworked, overstretched and overwhelmed.
Work less, but with greater intention
Free up more time and feel calm
When we focus our efforts on the easy wins, and the tasks we have demonstrated bring us the best results, we free up more time.
Not only that, but we’re focusing on things we know bring us success, which makes us feel more positive, motivated and calmer about life.
If you’re feeling time-poor, primed for burnout and like you have to do it all, take a deep breath.
Spend a little time making a list of ALL the tasks you bake into your working week and evaluate.
What could you let go of? What’s really important to do and effective?
What do you hate doing? If it’s necessary and brings value to your business, can you outsource it?
Running a business doesn’t have to be completely all-consuming. Channel your passion into the places that make an impact, and revel in the fact that less is more. Research supports it!
So go on, put the kettle on and take a little break. Your productivity levels will blossom. 🙂