10 time management tips, 25 ways to allocate resources, 67 ideas to focus attention, 3000 ways to confuse the hell out of you.
There are so many books, articles and blogs on time and resource management, that after drowning in the sea of data you end up worse off than you started. Should you do it this way or that? Precious time and energy resources wasted ensuring you’re best using your time and energy resources!
Surely there is a simpler way? There is.
Enter the Pareto-Parkinson heavyweight tag team – the only time and resource management tool you’ll ever need. No drowning here. Just easy, simple, useable advice that will help you run your day.
In a nutshell, Vilfredo Pareto discovered in 1906 that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population. So what? Well, it turns out that this “rule” roughly follows a mathematical Power Law distribution, and it occurs a lot in nature and throughout the world.
This means the rule can be generalised and applied to a number of circumstances:
80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.
80% of income is earned by 20% of the population.
80% of book sales come from 20% of the authors.
80% of business profits come from 20% of customers.
80% of sales come from 20% of products.
80% of sales are made by 20% of sales staff.
The list goes on. Remember, this is a rule of thumb, the percentages may vary, but the principle still applies.
So let’s apply this to you, your time and your resources:
80% of the outputs come from 20% of the inputs. So, figure out the 20% and do that. With the rest, either delay it, delegate it, or dump it. Done. Seriously.
As an example, take your daily to do list. Go through it and ask: “What 20% of things on this list will produce 80% of my outcomes?” Do them.
Of the remaining 80% of tasks, ask: “What can I delay and do later that will have some impact when done?” Schedule them.
Then ask: “What can I delegate?” Delegate them.
Finally, ask: “What can I dump? Does it really need doing?” Dump them. Over time, you will get better at delegating and dumping.
In respect of your time:
What 20% of activities are taking up 80% of your time? Once you’ve established what they are, you should ask: “Are these the best activities to be doing to achieve my desired outcomes?” “Am I just filling time?”
In respect of money:
What 20% of activities are taking up 80% of your resources? Is there any way to trim that?
In respect of your business:
What 20% of customers are contributing to 80% of your sales and profits?
What is different between these customers and your other customers? Analyse them, build a profile of them, and find more of them. Once you find more, eliminate the rest.
Yes, you will lose a few sales, but you will also lose a lot of hassle, a lot of problems, a lot of time consumption; all of which can be focused on attaining more customers like the top 20%.
The money is in the 20%. The time is in the 20%. Decisions are in the 20%. It’s a very powerful, non-trivial principle. Start practising it today to achieve more powerful results.
The principle can be applied further, to your well-being:
What 20% of things contribute to 80% of your happiness? If you can figure that out, awesome. Do more of it.
Just as important, what 20% of things contribute to 80% of your unhappiness?
You see, we often find it difficult to say what makes us happy, but we damn well know what makes us unhappy.
So, I repeat, what 20% of things contribute to 80% of your unhappiness? Now, here’s the important bit; stop doing them.
It may be your job – change it. It may be a customer – get rid of him. It may be a course – quit it. It sounds brash, and it is.
If you can stop the cause of 80% of your unhappiness, you will experience a much more fulfilled life. You only have one life, so the change is worth it. Trust me.
And that’s Pareto. A wonderful principle that can be applied to so many areas of your business and your life.
Now, Enter Parkinson
Pareto helps you figure out the 20% that is truly important. Parkinson helps you get things done.
Parkinson’s Law is a generalisation that says, "Work expands to fill the time available for its completion."
Basically, the time we allocate to do something is the time it will take to do it.
So, if you have a report to do for a boss with a 3 week deadline, the chances are you won’t get it done until the deadline. From a time management perspective, remembering Parkinson’s Law, you should schedule yourself an unreasonable deadline to get the task done. If you only have a day, it only takes a day to do.
Setting unreasonable deadlines forces you to maintain intense focus, to produce only what is necessary (the 20%) and to strip out all the crap. It’s a great productivity tool.
In conclusion, keep time and resource management simple.
http://www.staywiththeproblems.com/blog/how-to-dramatically-improve-the-performance-of-your-business-without-adding-a-thing"#2a2a2a">Pareto and Parkinson, the ultimate time and resource management combination.