Have you ever heard of the 80/20 rule? Let’s turn our eyes to Investopedia–which describes the Pareto Principle, otherwise known as the 80/20 rule.  They share that “in Pareto’s case, he used the rule to explain how 80% of the wealth is controlled by 20% of your time at work.”  However, Investopedia shares:

“This principle serves as a general reminder that the relationship between inputs and outputs is not balanced… In terms of personal time management, 80% of your work-related output could come from only 20% of your time at work.”

Let’s take a look at that visually.

Synter Resource Group Pareto Principle-min

Do you want to determine how you can put in the least amount of input to reap the greatest gains in output? There are a few things you need to figure out first:

  • Workhorse Hours: What time frames during the day do you feel most invigorated, ready, and able to accomplish the greatest amount of hard work?
  • Positive Triggers: What people, places, or things cause you to work your best at the most important things in your job?
  • Negative Triggers: What people, places, or things cause you to work your worst?
  • Wakefulness: When do you feel most awake and alert throughout any given day?
  • Tiredness: When do you feel most sluggish throughout any given day?
  • Helper Hours: During what hours of a work day do you have to be on-call to answer others’ questions?
  • Secluded Hours: During what hours of a work day do you have to yourself to get tasks accomplished uninterrupted?

Schedule the 20%

There are numerous questions one can ask oneself to figure out when one is most efficient, effective, and useful.  So, take the time to think of what other questions you could ask yourself to figure out when you could accomplish that sweet and powerful 20% of your work.

Remember: Asking yourself these questions is not to get you to feel poorly about yourself or your work habits.  Instead, use your honest answers to create a plan that allows you to strategize just how much you can pack into that 20% of your workday without reducing the quality of your work during that time.

By doing so, you are getting your thoughts organized, giving you the ability to section off time for your brain to handle one task at a time, not carrying around the burden tof thinking about all your tasks all the time.

Schedule the 80%

Once you have scheduled out that perfect 20% of your time each day, it’s time to schedule out what you will do during the remaining 80% of your time.  Because you know that during this 80% of your time you will sometimes be less efficient, effective, and useful, let your mind relax a bit.  Take a moment to practice being in the present moment.  Reassess the rest of your task list that day and plan out how you will accomplish them in that remaining 80% of your work day.

These principles and ideas of scheduling out the 20% and 80% of your time may seem helpful in concept but difficult in application.  This is where math can come into play.  Try it.

  • 20% of an 8 hour work day comes out to 96 minutes (about 1.5 hours)
  • 80% of an 8 hour work day comes out to 384 minutes (about 6.5 hours)

If Nothing Else…

How can you reschedule your day so that you are accomplishing the most important work you have to do in that 1.5 hours where you are at your optimal strength, focus, and energy level? It might seem difficult, but, try scheduling it out one time.  Test it.  Does it work for you? How can you alter this Pareto Principle to best fit your work schedule and tasks?

You can surprise yourself at how successful you are in following this new schedule.  If nothing else, you will be more in tune with your needs and learn how to work best during the times you feel most up to challenges.