Saturday, June 15, 2024

The Power of the Pareto Principle (Part Two)

In case you missed Part One, click here.

“Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is a
nobler art of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life
consists in the elimination of nonessentials.” -Lin Yutang

A common characteristic of all successful people is that they have the ability to focus on their highest priorities. In my last article I wrote about the power of the Pareto Principle. It is a principle that has helped me achieve my goals and stay focused on my priorities. Yet, I must confess that it took a long time for me to learn to apply the principle consistently.

My main obstacle was that I often concentrated on the eight “low payoff” activities because they were usually easier, less risky and more pleasant. In contrast, the two “high payoff” activities were usually complicated, unpleasant or both. These “high payoff” activities often make you feel uncomfortable because there is a chance of failure or rejection. Because of this, it is tempting to procrastinate on these important activities.

However, since we almost never have time to complete all ten items on our list, we must focus on completing the high payoff tasks. As Brian Tracy reminds us, “There is never enough time to do everything you have to do, but there is always time to do the most important thing.” The key to success without added stress is not to do more things, but to do more of the right things.

If you are like most people, you are already operating at “full capacity.” You probably have a long “to-do” list and you are continually adding to it. There are phone calls to make, reports to write, e-mails to respond to and meetings to attend. Since you will never “finish” you must prioritize. You must separate the “critical few” from the “trivial many.” Learning to prioritize is the key to successful time management and goal achievement.

Now it’s your turn to share. Have you experienced similar roadblocks when trying to use the Pareto Principle? How has the Pareto Principle helped you?

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