Distractions and obstacles get in the way all day long. Do you ever feel this way? Consider spending your time differently. Here are ways to more effectively use your time and preserve your energy throughout the day.
The Pareto Principle.
Vilfredo Pareto was an Italian economist in the 1800s. He performed a study of land use in Italy and had a fascinating insight. He found that 20% of the people owned 80% of the land, and, conversely, 80% of the people lived on only 20% of the land. Over the years, this distribution of resources was relevant in other areas of life and became known as the Pareto Principle, in honor of Vilfredo.
The Pareto principle can be applied to time use as well. That is, 20% of what we do produces 80% of our results, and we spend 80% of our time on activities that only produce 20% of our results. The trick is to narrow to that 20% and make sure we are always spending time in those areas. We call those activities Primary Focus Areas (PFA’s), and they are broad categories that return the highest value for the effort applied. They are present in any occupation, and are often activities that are important to do, but not urgent to get done. Examples include areas of planning, communicating with team members, spending time in personal development, and making time for coaching direct reports. They are actions that people know they should be doing more of in their workday but can’t seem to find the time to complete.
Do Your PFA’s.
When you look at people that are successful leaders or managers, you’ll notice that they spend time in their PFA’s. They don’t let the urgency of the moment derail them from taking the time to make sure they happen. They prioritize spending their time in those areas first, and other matters second. Do you know what those activities are for you?
- They are often things you say you “can’t find the time to do” or time can’t be found. You need to make time for these essential items.
- They are activities that you procrastinate. Start earlier to ensure a better, timely, and more thorough completion.
- They are areas that help improve how you work. Everything isn’t urgent; you must work on yourself and your systems to continue to grow.
Find and spend time in each of your own personal PFA’s. You can make a leap in how you use your time and energy, and the outcomes you produce.