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- Work Smarter #50: How I cut my work hours and got a pay rise!
November 30, 2011

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Hi, Kell here!

Welcome to the Work Smarter Not Harder Newsletter #50.

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Do you want to cut down your work week and get a pay rise? Use the Pareto principle in your life and focus on the 20% that generates results.

As a time management consultant, lecturer, and sport psychologist I have the privilege of working with top performers across many different disciplines.

One of the most common traits of top performers are that they have strong ingrained habits of success.

One of the most important habits of success is that they actually practice the 80/20 rule.

In many of the workshops that I run or clients that I coach as time management consultant, I would say that 99% of the people know what the Pareto rule is, but less than 1 in ten people apply this rule to their use of time. Pareto’s Law is critically important to time management.

You may know the 80-20 rule but now let me ask you how many times have used the 80/20 rule today?

How many times have used the Pareto rule this week?

How many times in the last month?

The key to working less hours and being more productive is to find the 20% of tasks that generate your 80% of performance.

This gives you the biggest impact for your time.

The Pareto rule states that “roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.”

This law translates across a number of areas of society. For example:

  • 20% of clients generate 80% of revenue
  • 80% of your complaints come from 20% of your customers
  • 80% of your sales comes from 20% of your sales staff.

Applying Pareto's Law to your life

Some ways to live the 80/20 rule:
  1. Look at your to-do list. If you have 10 tasks on your list, choose the two tasks that are most important (note – I did not say most urgent!). By concentrating your attention on these two tasks you are practicing the 80/20 rule.
  2. Learn to say No. Too often we end up doing tasks that are important/urgent for other people but not for ourselves. This takes us off the 20% that leads to 80% of returns.
  3. Outsource the other 80 percent whenever and wherever you can. Make an effort to only work on your most important tasks or relationships. This may be difficult, and even controversial, but ultimately you have a choice about where you choose to direct your energy and focus.
Personally, I know I can't always live my life in the 20 percent - but I also know that if I try, I'll consistently be a lot closer than if I don't.

Take a step today to prioritize what you really want in your life and what you really want to be doing – and then honestly and actively look for ways that you can unload some of the 80% that does not fit with your vision.

By focusing on tasks and projects that drive your performance I have found that many of my clients have been able to reduce their work hours, exceed their KPI’s, and get a pay rise.

Applying Pareto's law to your life involves a mind shift that is not easy to put into place.

Please let us know how you apply the Pareto principle to your life?

All the best,

Dr Kell and the team at Effective Time Management Strategies.

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