“The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot”– Michael Altshuler.
The truth is most of us battle poor time management. Whether you’re an entrepreneur, a lecturer, a student, or a housewife, there comes a point in life when you just lose track of your time. Developing quality time management skills takes initiative and a decision to use time effectively.
However, if you’re one of those who are always running after bus timings, or are often late and really tired of this poor habit, let’s introduce you to this insightful rule called the Pareto Principle.
Table of Contents
- Pareto Principle & Its Correlation with Time Management
- 5 Most Effective Time Management Tips Using Pareto Principle
Pareto Principle & Its Correlation with Time Management
Also known as the 80/20 rule, the Pareto principle states that 80% of the outcomes are produced by 20% of the input. The rule was birthed by Vilfredo Pareto, an economist after his observations in Italy. Vilfredo discovered that 80% of the land in the country was owned by 20% of the population.
The Pareto principle is not a law, but an observation that can be identified in several spheres of life. It can also be applied in different areas such as management, customer service, and time management among others.
In the context of time management, the application of the Pareto principle influences the way an individual distributes time between different tasks. In this case, the Pareto rule requires one to assign productive hours to the tasks that produce 80% of the outcomes.
For example, if an employee finds it difficult to manage the available time and accomplish tasks, the Pareto principle can be applied. He or she can identify the most crucial tasks that generally produce the most results and optimize their time or effort. Precisely, 80% of your outcomes should come from 20% of your time.
In this way, the person will be able to optimize the available resources including time and attain incredible results. But how can an individual do that?
5 Most Effective Time Management Tips Using Pareto Principle
If you wish to maximize your output even in instances of limited time, here are some of the best time management tips you can follow while leveraging the Pareto principle;
1. Check your To-do List
The first and most important starting point of leveraging the Pareto rule for time management is identifying your goals and assessing your to-do list. Many people have a variety of regular tasks but are unclear about the output of each.
With the fact that 80% of your output will have to come from 20% of your input (time), you must assess your to-do list. Identify the tasks that produce the 80% and then prioritize your to-do list. Prioritizing your tasks will allow you to know what must be done first, generally, the most significant tasks that will render your day productive.
Take the time and reflect on your tasks (to-do list), and desired goals. There are different reflection models an individual can leverage to assess their tasks and output alongside the available time. The process of reflection will help you gain insights into your actions and time management efficacy.
Then prioritize the few tasks (20% of your efforts) that can produce 80% of results.
One of the biggest fears of some leaders and managers is delegation. Some people think that delegating tasks means a loss of power. They also believe that assigning certain tasks to others makes them incompetent. In this way, many leaders are drawn to tasks that have less impact and outcomes.
Their to-do lists become cluttered by tasks and many times, they may be triggered to focus on tasks that matter less. If you want to leverage the Pareto rule in this case, try to identify tasks that people around you can do. Precisely, tasks of least importance and certainly those that reduce your time.
Then focus on the 20% of tasks of major importance and let your energy be optimized for them. Delegation is one of the most effective time management hacks for leaders, entrepreneurs, and those in places of power. It can optimize time for them to eliminate low-value tasks and focus on the most important ones.
It also increases motivation and productivity. Therefore, delegate where possible to increase outcomes.
3. Identify your Distractors
It’s true that people want to perform optimally, but unfortunately, many of them don’t know how. One of the major hindrances to optimized performance is distraction. Anything that interrupts your workflow or drives time wastage is a distraction.
Many people battle poor time management because of distractors. Things like excessive phone use for other purposes other than business and interactions are major distractors in workplaces. Other factors like the office or outside noise are major time wasters.
In order to eliminate distractions, first identify your distractors. Whether they are cultivated by technology, things around you, or your own thoughts, you must understand what distracts you.
Then find means to get rid of them to enhance productivity and pave a way for self-improvement. For example, you can choose to turn off notifications, complete the most important tasks before others, or plan in advance.
4. Leverage the Pomodoro Technique
The way you go about your tasks highly determines the outcomes including productivity. Although not highly associated with the Pareto principle, you can certainly deploy the Pomodoro technique to manage your time better.
That’s because the technique requires one to follow a to-do list and a timer. In this way, one is able to focus on tasks of greater importance in order to produce the best outcomes.
The Pomodoro technique requires one to set a timer and focus on a single task for 25 minutes. After this session, you will have to take a 25-minute break and then go into another session of the same minutes.
However, after four Pomodoros, one must take a longer break of up to 30 minutes. The Pomodoro technique is an effective time management hack and it will allow you to focus on the most important tasks. Also, it will also help you ensure optimal productivity.
5. Know your Most Productive Hours
Yes! Knowing when you are most active during the day can help you allocate crucial tasks to those productive hours. Some people are highly productive during the first 6 hours of the day whereas others feel more energized to handle crucial tasks during midday.
Depending on your preferences and routine, identify the hours that you are most productive and focus on tasks that produce the best results. In this way, you will be able to attain 80% of the results in those few hours (20%).
All in all, the Pareto principle is a rule that can help you focus on tasks that matter the most. Even if it’s two tasks that produce the best results, you will be able to prioritize them over others. This helps you to secure 80% of outcomes from 20% of input (whether time or effort).