We all know how it feels to be inefficient. Spending too many hours “working” on a daily jobs without getting much productive work done can be incredibly frustrating. And this could drain so much energy and time for everyone.
So, what is this 80/20 Rule or better known as the Pareto Principle?
The Pareto Principle was named after the man who discovered it, Vilferdo Pareto (1848-1923), an Italian economist and sociologist. He first observed the **80/20 rule **when researching and analyzing wealth and income distribution trends in Europe. He noted that broadly 20% of the people owned 80% of the wealth. He also then realized that this ‘predictable imbalance’ can be extended to illustrate that, for example, 10% would own 63% of the wealth, and 5% would own 40% of the wealth. Mathematically, the 80-20 rule represents an example of a power law distribution (also known as a Pareto distribution) for a particular set of parameters.
Other phenomena that have been observed to follow this distribution, follow it roughly. So when mapping it to other fields instead of worrying about the exact numbers, the rule is most useful to us if we think of it as a simple rule of thumb to remind us that there is an inequality in distribution between cause and effect. We can use it as a reminder to focus on the 20% that makes the most difference.
3 Steps to Maximise the productive 20%.
The key to successfully applying the Pareto Principle is to work on making the most of the 20% of your time that will product 80% of your results.
1. Use the Pomodoro Technique.
Pomodoro Technique is a Time Management method developed by Francisco Cirillo in the late 1980s. The technique uses a timer to break down work into intervals, traditionally 25 minutes in length, separated by 5 minutes short break (conducted 3 times out of 4 cycle) and 15 minutes long break.
2. Minimise the Distractions.
Use apps to minimise distractions during these 25 minute bursts of work. Strict Workflow, a Google Chrome extension, allows you to create a blacklist of websites to block for 25 minutes at a time. Similarly, Forest occupies your phone screen with a growing tree seedling for half an hour, which will die if you swipe off the app before your work time is complete!
3. Be Clear about What You Want to Achieve.
Before each Pomodoro begins, have clearly in mind what work you want to get done in the next 25 minutes. Write a list of the tasks you need to complete this week, and break each one into small steps of around 25 minutes in length to be used as Pomodoros. Check these off as go.
I implore you to be thinking about your priorities as you decide how to best implement your 80/20 experiment. When you know why you are trying to be more productive and create more margin you will be more bought into doing this well.