Today you are going to learn EXACTLY how to the busiest people in the world Manage their time.
This is the exact process we’ve used when working with organizations with 100’s of millions in sales and thousands of employees and we use it now to help us grow our business.
Let’s get started…
Do you ever feel like you have too much to do but there just isn’t enough time to get everything done?
Or maybe you are not seeing the results of all your hard work coming through?
Ever had the feeling you are just running around in circles and would like the time to be more productive?
These can be very common feelings for people in all types of different environments.
People that would benefit from better time management include:
We seem to lead very stressful lives and there is always at least one more thing that we need to do, one more task that must be completed.
Our normal response to this is
“I must work harder and faster to achieve this”
“I need to get more help if I am going to make that deadline”
But how many of us stop and think about how much of what we are doing actually makes a difference?
In the world we live in today, a world that travels at a breakneck speed with no pauses or let ups, it is very difficult to stop, reflect and evaluate what we are doing.
Does this really makes a difference and is this the best way to do it?
Have you ever heard of the Pareto Principle? Or, as it is more commonly known, the 80/20 rule?
The Pareto Principle was the brainchild of Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto who, whilst at university back in the 19th century, observed that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population.
His early work was later discovered by Joseph M Juran, an American engineer, who began to apply the Pareto Principle to quality control issues, summarising that 80% of a problem is caused by 20% of the causes.
This 80/20 principle has since been used in economics, sports, and occupational health and safety, for example in risk assessments.
In fact, you can see the 80/20 principle in action all around us today.
For example; The richest 20% on the planet own 80% of the world’s wealth. In the US 20% of patients use 80% of the healthcare resources.
This principle can be taken and used in almost any environment. For example; you wear 20% of the clothes in your wardrobe 80% of the time!
In his excellent book “The 4hour Work Week”, author Tim Ferriss uses the Pareto Principle as a unique guide for personal productivity.
He explores the idea that 80% of your results are coming from 20% of your output.
Imagine that for a second, 80% of your results coming from just 20% of your output!
That must also mean then, that 80% of your output is achieving just 20% of your results!
Imagine how effective you could be if you could identify where that 80% of wasted output was going, how much time could you save if you could just completely stop and just focus on the other 20%.
Wondering how to do this?
Can you apply the 80/20 principle to your life?
Well the simple answer is yes, you can!
To start with the most important step is to acknowledge the 80/20 principle in your daily routines.
If you adapt the mindset that, in everything you do, 80% of what you are doing is largely ineffective, and 20% of what you are doing is responsible for 80% of the results you are getting, you will start to look at your own personal productivity in a completely different way.
There is a great quote out of “The 4 hour Work Week” which really struck a chord with me.
We live in a world where we are taught to believe that equal effort delivers equal results, the harder you work, the better your results will be.
But if you can put in 30% less effort and get 30% better results, it becomes clear that 50/50 is not efficient!
Once you start to recognise the inefficiencies in your daily routines, be it at work or at home, you can start to take steps to reduce them.
What could you do differently that would save you time?
What could you stop doing altogether that would make no difference to your life whatsoever?
In his book, Tim Ferriss identifies that as a salesman making calls to various businesses, the thing that stopped him getting through to the people he needed to speak to were the secretaries, or the “gatekeepers” as he calls them.
So, what did he do?
He started making all his sales calls between 8am and 8.30am and then between 6pm and 6.30pm, just before the secretaries started and finished for the day.
He managed to secure twice as many meetings with the people he needed to speak to then he did in a whole day of calling between 9am and 6pm!
In fact the difference is easy to see when you look at why people do the things they do:
If everyone is trying to solve a problem in the same way, and nobody is happy with the results, why not ask yourself the question “What if I did the complete opposite?”
What would happen?
What if instead of sitting in front of my laptop waiting for the next email to drop, I only checked my emails twice a day, and put aside 30 minutes each time to respond to them?
As an example:
Once you start to look at your own personal productivity in this way, you will start to see so many opportunities to “trim the fat” and stop doing the things that make little or no difference.
My moment of clarity happened a few years ago now.
I had taken on a new role as an Area Manager responsible for a dozen or so managers and their teams.
I wanted to keep them all really well informed, so I bombarded my teams with emails relating to data and information that I felt they all needed in order to do their jobs more effectively.
I must have been sending out 20-30 emails a day!
One day, after speaking to one of my managers about the information I had sent on one of my emails, I realised he didn’t have a clue what I was talking about!
He had not even read the email, and yet he and his team were still performing way above expectations.
I realised then that I did not need to send email after email for my team to deliver.
I stopped sending vast amounts of emails the next day and within a week I was sending just one or two emails a day to my team.
The change made absolutely no difference to the results my team were delivering, but it saved me about 3 hours a day!
My productivity suddenly went through the roof!
Instead of filling my time with tasks that I thought I should do, or had better do, or thought I was supposed to do, I only did the things I absolutely needed to do.
This left me with plenty of time to do all the things I wanted to do. I realised that not being productive was costing me the most important thing of all, time.
The 80/20 principle on its own is fantastic for raising your awareness of how effective the things you are doing actually are.
We’ve found another time saving technique, by using this with the 80/20 principle we’ve been able to save ourselves and the people we work with stacks of time, and its working great for us right now!
This great technique we use helps put the 80/20 rule at the forefront of everything we do, it’s called the 3D’s.
The 3D’s are Delete, Delegate and Do it again…
Step 1 – Delete
Delete – Find the 20% that causes you 80% of your stress and identify the 80% you do that does not make enough difference.
Then stop doing it!
When it comes to deciding what to remove this quote really helped me:
Step 2 – Delegate
Delegate – Are you wasting time doing something because you are the only person who can do it?
Stop! You are not the only competent person in your organisation!
Train someone else to do it and delegate.
Step 3 – Do it Again
For an easy to digest summary of Pareto’s Principle and everything else covered in this article, make sure you check out our 80/20 infographic.
This will show you how you can constantly revise your routines to ensure you never waste your time and remain productive and efficient in everything you do.
Time Management Infographic