How the 80% vs 20% rule can be applied to action:
According to time management guru ‘Brian Tracy’, find (and economist ‘Vilfredo Pareto’, who was researching time management back in the late 1800’s), 20% of your activities will account for 80% of your results. 20% of your customers will account for 80% of your sales. 20% of your products will account for 80% of your profit.
This means your actions matter. If 20% or your actions create 80% of your achievement, then those actions are more valuable and more necessary to pinpoint to help you succeed.
Your to-do list just got very important…if you have 10 items on the list, just 2 of those items will yield the greatest returns. What are the highest valued actions you can take to achieve your goal? Let’s say you are studying for a big test or finishing a big project. Is tidying your desk going to bring you as much success as ignoring the clutter and getting an extra hour of work done? No…the clutter can wait.
Start to get curious about what you actually accomplish every day. How much time are you wasting looking through junk mail? How many times a day do you check your email? If you cut back to checking it only twice a day, how much time would that free up for you to be more productive? If you’re responding to emails, which ones will give you an 80% return for your time? Bottom line…if it’s not a high value action, it can wait.
80/20 applied to obstacles.
You can apply this to self sabotage as well.
Here is an interesting statistic…only 20% of what’s holding you back is out of your control. That means, 80% of what’s not working, is IN YOUR CONTROL.
This is true for companies as well as individuals. The majority of your obstacles are internal. If you owned a coffee shop, for example, there are many areas you could look at to improve your revenue. Maybe the employee turnover is high thus costing you time and money to train new people. Your accountant might be off on their numbers or maybe your marketing campaign isn’t hitting your target customer. These are internal issues that you can improve upon.
This is the same for artists, entrepreneurs, and anyone tying to achieve a big goal. You control 80% of your obstacles.
Do you procrastinate? Do you skip running spell check when emailing potential clients? Do you waste time on Facebook when you should be revamping your resume? Do you fail to follow up? Are you chronically late?
Start to look at your behavior from more of a business perspective…where are the internal weakest links? Where are YOU holding YOU back? If you aren’t clearly able to see the ways you get in your own way, look at your past. Look at your previous let downs. What were the mistakes that YOU were responsible for? Where, why, and how did you drop the ball?
This is not a self shaming expedition. This is a close examination of where you can improve and ultimately experience more success. Ask any successful business owner, they will tell you that their struggles and their own mistakes showed them more about themselves than they ever knew before. Self examination is a necessary practice if you want to achieve your goals. Period.
So again, take a look at your to-do list…what are the highest valued actions? Maybe you can cut that list down to a few ‘mega’ tasks…What actions can you take today that if completed, will give you the biggest bang for your buck?
And then look at what internal obstacles need to be addressed. Where can you step up your game and why aren’t you already doing it? Where are you holding yourself back?
Get curious and specific. And then, go for it!
(Often our various forms of self sabotage can be hard to spot and even harder to overcome. This is where having a coach can be the smartest investment you can make when tackling a big challenge. I work with people on these issues all the time. And the actions I have them take towards conquering their obstacles, always produce 80% of their ultimate success. If this sounds good to you, get in touch and we’ll get to work!)