The 80/20 Rule for Time Management

Do you ever see somethingAdd subtitle text and think, “Well that explains everything.”  In health and fitness, we hear a lot about the 80/20 rule with nutrition.  The biggest one we hear is, “Eat Clean 80% of the time and allow yourself to cheat 20% of the time”  While I’m familiar with the idea behind the 80/20 rule, I had never made the leap to what the 80/20 could mean in terms of productivity.

Currently, I’m reading “Eat That Frog” by Brian Tracy.  In it, he discusses the importance of the 80/20 rule.  The 80/20 Rule means that 20 percent of the things we do each day are vital while many of the things, or the other 80 percent, are trivial.   This idea is base off what is called the Pareto Principal.  Pareto was an Italian economist who used mathematics to explain the unequal distribution of wealth in his country in the early 1900’s.  In Pareto’s case it meant 20 percent of the people owned 80 percent of the wealth.  The chart below illustrates his point using “tasks” instead of wealth.  In other words, we spend 80% of our time doing things that only bring 20% results.  Instead, we should focus on doing the VITAL tasks first–before the trivial tasks.  This leads to a higher rate of productivity and results.  In terms of Beachbody Coaching, these vital tasks are literally known as the Vital Behaviors.

Currently, I’m working on improving my time management.  I have a tendency to be a bit flighty internally.  My mind jumps from one idea to the next.  As a result, that can leave me NOT getting things done.  I’m good at being busy but not always productive.  I’m super organized, but I can spend so much time organizing ideas, files, and stuff, that nothing of importance gets done.

After coming across the 80/20 rule today in “Eat That Frog,” I realized that I’m spending far too much time on trivial tasks.   I need to focus on those 20% of VITAL tasks in order to achieve my goals.

Right now, I’m working on creating a system to help me increase my overall productivity and specifically business productivity.  I’ve created a daily sheet to help me track the vital behaviors I need to get done each day.  I’ve created a calendar for next month with important dates and daily activities to complete.  I’m excited to have a plan to keep me focused on those top 20% tasks.

My next steps are to assign certain business hours during the day to get these things done.  This will require a team effort on the part of the family and understanding from both the kiddos and the hubby.  One thing I know I am going to have to do–as much as it pains me–is get up early.  And by early, I mean 4 a.m.  My boys are early risers.  Getting up at 5 will not buy me enough time before they wake up.  By doing this, I can have almost two hours of uninterrupted time where I can focus on laying the foundation of getting those daily priorities take care of.

Action steps to increase productivity:

1.  Spend your time on the vital tasks FIRST.  Do not waste time getting the trivial things done before the vital things, because in all reality, the vitals won’t get done.

2.  Trivial tasks are busy work.  While it might make you feel good to cross items off your list, they won’t drive your toward your goals.  Put Vital Tasks FIRST (I know I have already said this–but it’s THAT important!).

3.  Plan our your day the night before.  That way, when you wake up the next day, you have a plan of action.

4.  Track your daily behaviors to keep yourself honest.  It’s one thing to think you did something and another thing to know you did it.  Also, it’s good to have that data to show how you got your results.