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Time Management Techniques:
The 80 20 Rule

Taking advantage of the 80 20 rule is simple: get better results by doing less work. This time management techniques foundation - Pareto analysis - is the best way of getting more with less.

Put simply, the Pareto Principle states that:

20% of the things you do give you
80% of the results you get.

Wikipedia states, "...the original observation was in connection with income and wealth. Pareto noticed that 80% of Italy's wealth was owned by 20% of the population."

The 80 20 rule shows up quite a bit in business:

  • 80% of sales come from 20% of customers
  • 80% of sales from from 20% of the sales force

As best-selling author Richard Koch points out on the Hot Topics page of his website and in his books, the 80 20 rules shows up in our personal lives too:

  • We send 80 percent of our emails to 20 percent of the people in our address book
  • We wear 20 percent of our clothes --- our favorite outfits more than 80 percent of the time
  • Police investigations reveal that 80 percent of accidents come from 20 percent of drivers
  • 80 percent of crime is committed by 20 percent of criminals

So what does this have to do with time management techniques?

Well, let's start by looking at the flip side of the Pareto Principle: 80% of the things we're doing on a regular basis are giving us only 20% of our results. That's a lot of wasted time and energy.

Start taking advantage of this time management techniques benefits today. Just becoming aware that you're wasting so much time doing things that are only giving you small results is the first step.

Whatever you're working on, begin
applying the 80 20 rule today.

Investing a little more time up-front thinking about the 20% of your actions that will give you 80% of your results pays huge dividends on the back end. This is a key feature of Tony Robbin's Rapid Planning Method.

This rule is the next logical step after another one of the critical time management techniques I pointed out: Knowing What You Want.

Until you know what it is you want, the Pareto Princple is of very little value. You can't hit a target if you don't know what it is; however, knowing what you want, you can eliminate enormous amounts of wasted time and energy simply by thinking things through up front and figuring out which actions will give you the greatest results.

80-20 Space Shuttle Launch

I'll wrap up this time management technique with an example I'm sure you've seen: the launch of the space shuttle.

The shuttle expends enormous amounts of fuel and energy just to move those first few inches. As it gets going, the shuttle starts gaining momentum, using less and less energy to keep going. Eventually the shuttle arrives in orbit, floating effortlessly around the earth, using absolutely no fuel.

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