Use the 80/20 Rule to Put Time on Your Side

By Lissa Cupp, vice president, e-Commerce & Consumer Marketing, ACCO Brands

The old saying goes, “Time is Money.” However, anyone who’s ever struggled with time management knows it’s much more than that. Time is your life, and therefore, properly managing your time should equal a well-managed lifestyle.

One of the keys to good time management is harnessing the ability to fulfill your goals and plans, both short- and long-term. An interesting element comes into play here known as the Pareto Principle. This states that, for many events, roughly 80 percent of the effects come from 20 percent of the causes. This 80/20 Rule, in terms of time management, implies that 20 percent of your “to-dos” account for 80 percent of your results.

If you apply this rule to your daily task list, for starters, you’ll be able to keenly focus on the most important and critical tasks at hand. You’ll also avoid getting bogged down or caught up in small, less important tasks. Most likely, this is already a part of your daily to-do list development and prioritization—or if it isn’t, it should be.

When looking at your task list, examine the items you noted as the highest priority. These items shouldn’t be more than 20 percent of your entire list. Another way to look at it—and help you identify your highest priorities—is to determine the items that contribute to the highest percentage of productivity in an hour of work. These are your primary areas of focus.

The value and importance of using the 80/20 rule is imperative to good time management. It’s impossible to complete every item on your to-do list every day. This principle helps separate the wheat from the chaff and makes the most out of your most valuable asset—time.

[photo by pshegubj]

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