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Weekly Course on Time Management- Week 14- Theories of Time Management: The Pareto Principle
Let me begin this week’s lesson on Time Management by asking you this simple question. How would you feel if I told you that you could reap maximum benefits by putting in the minimal effort? I’m sure you will feel excited and would like to learn more. Who doesn’t like the thought of minimal input giving maximum output? Most big brands around the world aim for this kind of efficiency in their business operations.
Today, I will give all the busy bee homeschool moms a chance to make their lives more fulfilling by increasing efficiency and managing their time more effectively. All you have to do is follow this simple 80/20 rule, which is academically known as the Pareto Principle.
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The Origin of The Pareto Principle
In 1895, an Italian economist named Vilfredo Pareto noticed something strange while working in his vegetable garden. He observed that just 20% of the peapods in his vegetable garden produced 80% of the peas that he was plucking.
Later, he noticed that only 20% of the population owned 80% of all the land in Italy. He began to see a strange pattern. He realized that in life, results could be maximized with minimal effort once we have a clear idea of what areas deserve 20% of our effort to give us 80% of the profit.
His principle was later named the Pareto Principle or Pareto’s 80-20 Rule. Today, it is being taught under the discipline of Management Sciences and has become a major theory of Time Management.
Explaining the Pareto Principle
20% Effort 80% Results
The Pareto Principle states that generally, only 20% of tasks hold all the weight during the day. These tasks will produce 80% of the results, and hence, will get us closer to our goals and success. These tasks are the most important tasks of the day, and by completing these tasks, you start feeling like you had a productive day. You feel unburdened as if a huge weight has been lifted off your shoulder.
So, it could be that in a day, you have 10 tasks that need to be completed, but by just focusing on the 2 most important ones, you can achieve 80% of the results that you had hoped to achieve at the end of the day.
Now let’s try to simplify it with an example.
Putting it Into Perspective
Imagine that your goal this year is to homeschool your child so that he will be able to learn 2 years of coursework in 1 year. You now have to focus your time and energy on the few tasks that will produce 80% of the results and help you achieve your goal.
For example, you could start by focusing your time and energy on teaching your child the subjects that he finds most challenging. Science, mathematics, history, you name it, but your aim should be that your child should have a firm grip on these subjects so that he can progress from grade 4 to grade 5 within this year.
Most of your time and effort must be focused on teaching him these difficult subjects and ensuring that he slowly starts to understand the concepts well.
By focusing your attention on these subjects, you will notice that he can easily complete 2 years of coursework within one year because he will naturally progress in the subjects that he finds easy. You will not have to spend a lot of time and effort on those subjects.
Key Takeaway: You spent your time and effort on just 20% of all the subjects and were able to get an 80% success rate in achieving your goal.
Using the Pareto Principle in Daily Life
Have you ever had the time to realize that you only wear 20% of all the dresses that are hanging in your closet? Or that you only watch 20% of all the channels that are available on your cable network? Why is that so? It’s because only these few clothes or these few channels are more important for you than the rest.
Maybe you find these clothes more attractive or more practical as compared to the rest. Or it could be that these are the ones that have been arranged at the front of the closet as compared to the rest. Whatever your reason may be, the truth remains that you wear these 20% clothes a lot more than the rest.
So, here is what you should do:
- Make a list of all the work that needs to be done during the day.
- Take a good look at the list and think…
- If you had to pick just 3 important tasks that must be done and the failure of completing these tasks could result in serious consequences, what would these tasks be?
- These 3 tasks are the ones that require most of your time and effort.
- Focus your time and effort on these 3 tasks.
- Always remember that these 3 tasks should help you achieve your goals.
Other Tips and Tricks
These tips and tricks follow the Pareto Principle and ensure that you can manage your time effectively.
- Identify the 4 most important mobile applications on your smartphone and delete the remaining ones.
- Identify the crockery that you mostly use in your kitchen and stock the rest in a seldom-touched cabinet.
- Invest your time and money in buying the food your family enjoys eating the most, and refrain from purchasing extra groceries.
- Clean, organize and declutter those areas of your house daily that are used the most or that visitors are bound to enter into.
- Prepare meals that are quick to prepare but give you and your family all the nutrition you need.
We often focus our time and energy on the small and less important or unimportant tasks that add no value to our lives. The Pareto Principle states that by identifying 20% of the most important tasks that can help us achieve our goals, we can obtain 80% of the result and therefore get a little closer to our goals every day. Using the Pareto Principle in daily life can help you stay focused, accomplish more, and manage your time effectively.
Remember, do not work on tasks that are of low value or no value! Learn to declutter your work schedule to attain 80% productivity.