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How the Pareto Principle can supercharge your productivity
Posted by Kanika Sinha
May 25, 2023
Ever wish you could finally reach the end of your to-do list, catch up on your big projects, or make time to chase your next business idea? Or find yourself struggling to direct your energy and focus towards the activities that actually propel your business forward?
When you’re constantly busy running a business, caring for loved ones, managing your social calendar and trying to stay healthy, it can feel like there just aren’t enough hours in the day to tackle the dozens of tasks on your schedule. But with a small mindset shift — and a reallocation of your time — you may be able to unlock a whole new level of productivity and focus.
That’s where the Pareto principle comes in.
What is the Pareto principle?
The Pareto principle, also called the 80/20 rule, states that roughly 80% of impact comes from just 20% of effort. In other words, a small amount of energy, directed correctly, can have an oversized effect on your accomplishments.
This productivity principle is based on an observation by Vilfredo Pareto in 1896. Pareto, an Italian economist, noticed that 80% of Italian land was owned by just 20% of the country’s residents. And in his garden, just 20% of his plants produced 80% of the fruit. The more he studied the distribution of land, the more he realized that the same principle could be applied to many other countries and multiple areas of life. From that series of observations, the Pareto productivity principle was born.
How can you use the Pareto principle to increase your effectiveness?
The Pareto principle doesn’t just apply to land ownership and horticulture — you can leverage this idea to put your best energy toward your most productive tasks. Business leaders, financial advisors, coaches and HR teams have all developed ways to apply this insightful principle to growth, investing, hiring and more. And with these tips, you can too!
Supercharge your productivity with these four simple Pareto principle-based tips:
1. Identify your highest-value activities, and focus on them.
If 80% of your results are driven by 20% of your energy, it makes sense to prioritize the activities that generate the greatest value in your life and business. To start applying this principle effectively, take time to evaluate the tasks and activities you perform weekly. Which of these has the highest return? Consider these your 20% — and prioritize them! Make a conscious effort to complete these tasks early in your day and early in your week, while allowing the lower-value tasks to fill in the gaps once your best activities are completed.
2. Eliminate or delegate what doesn’t offer value.
According to the Pareto principle, 80% of your daily and weekly activities may not be contributing much to your overall growth or productivity. Ask yourself, are these activities still worth doing? Work to identify the low-value tasks that may be distracting you from the best, most productive aspects of your work and personal life. Then drop or delegate as many of those activities as possible.
3. Build the Pareto principle into your day with dedicated time blocks.
Time-blocking is a focusing strategy you can use to schedule specific blocks of time for certain recurring tasks or activities. For example, if one of your 20% high-value activities is following up with investors, which takes about two hours a week, time-blocking suggests you mark off a two-hour timespan in your weekly calendar when you’re the most alert, energized and ready to work. This could be the first two hours of your Monday or the last two hours of a Wednesday afternoon.
Regardless of when you schedule your time block, remember, that span of time should be solely dedicated to completing this 20% task. During that time block, you are only allowed to focus on the single activity, while avoiding distractions and limiting notifications.
4. Frequently measure your results.
Because the Pareto principle is based on the 80/20 rule, it’s important to recognize which 20% of your efforts are generating 80% of your results. And as you leverage these tips to become more productive, you’ll notice your energy shifting — which will reset your 80/20 distribution.
Take time periodically to review what activities are taking your time, where your best results are generated, and how your energy is distributed throughout your day and week. This will help you continue identifying areas where you can make small improvements — and realize significant gains.
The Pareto principle is a powerful productivity tool for business leaders who know how to use it!
Reallocating your best 20% to your most important tasks and activities is a great way to boost your productivity and generate greater results with less effort. By identifying the areas that need priority attention, and redistributing your energy towards them, you can uncover new and exciting ways to accomplish your goals without draining your energy along the way. Why not give this principle a try this week, and see what small changes can have the biggest impact on your results?
Want more? Escalon has helped over 5,000 companies across a range of industries to optimize routine business functions, like taxes, accounting, HR and payroll, and operate more efficiently. Talk to an expert today.
This material has been prepared for informational purposes only. Escalon and its affiliates are not providing tax, legal or accounting advice in this article. If you would like to engage with Escalon, please contact ushere.
Kanika is an enthusiastic content writer who craves to push the boundaries and explore uncharted territories. With her exceptional writing skills and in-depth knowledge of business-to-business dynamics, she creates compelling narratives that help businesses achieve tangible ROI. When not hunched over the keyboard, you can find her sweating it out in the gym, or indulging in a marathon of adorable movies with her young son.