What’s the 80/20 Rule and Can It Make You More Productive?

Hoping to boost your productivity at work? Enter the 80/20 rule.

The 80/20 rule revolves around the principle that 20 percent of our work efforts lead to the most success. So essentially, about 80 percent of our success comes from just 20 percent of our actions.

The concept of the 80/20 rule was designed to highlight that oftentimes, there are bigger-impact activities that should take up more of our work time. However, it’s easy to get hung up on the other 80 percent of the actions — the easier, smaller tasks that are simpler or perhaps more fun to knock out, but probably don’t do as much to push your momentum forward.

By utilizing the 80/20 rule, you can analyze and select which items in your day-to-day have the most impact on moving your goals forward, and focus more on completing those actions or at least prioritizing them. Utilizing this principle can help you to make the most out of your time, earn more money and crush your career goals.

The best part? The 80/20 rule allows for rest and relaxation as well as doing your best work ever. Following this principle can help you recapture more joy in life. And who among us doesn’t want to be happier as well as wealthier?

Do some honest soul-searching

Most of the things we do with our time at work — chatting with a coworker at the water cooler, responding to every email within 15 minutes and running to pick up office supplies — consists of “busy work.” Add checking social media in the mix, and before you know it, you experience the panic which sets in when the day is nearly over and you feel you’ve accomplished little of merit.

What is it you can do to truly create value? What brings in the most money? Focus your energy on those objectives. Everything else is just details.

Find your peak groove time

To crush productivity, you need to do your most important work when you have the most energy. If you’re a morning person working the night shift, consider speaking with your employer about moving to the day shift. If you’re a night owl, conversely, take advantage of having the office to yourself once your coworkers leave whenever possible.

Delegate, delegate, delegate

If you’re busy thinking about how the grass needs to be mowed or the rug needs to be vacuumed, you’re not focused on your workplace productivity. If you’re like me and a bit of a neat freak, hiring a housekeeper can be a godsend (doing so changed my life dramatically).

Likewise, if you’re running a small business, hire someone to help you with trivial tasks such as sending non-vital emails and answering phones when you’ve got your work groove on hardcore. Yes, given minimum wage laws, you may be able to find someone for less than $8 per hour who will be happy to not be flipping burgers, but such a low wage disrespects others’ needs to feed their families — plus, paying a living wage builds morale and loyalty. You won’t improve your productivity by hiring help if you’re constantly needing to replace your Gal Friday.

Eliminate interruptions as much as possible

Make your office Do Not Disturb sign your best friend. In Jean M. Auels’ “Earth’s Children” series of books, the head spiritual leader of the group wore a two-sided strip of wood around her neck. One side meant she was open to giving advice or chatting, the reverse was reserved for sitting in uninterrupted meditation. You need not invest in a new necklace necessarily, but if you’re working from home, let your spouse and kids know a closed door means do not interrupt unless someone is bleeding to death.

Take some needed downtime

Human beings are, well, human. We all need down time to relax and breathe. Idle time allows our brains to wander freely — and many find their best flashes of inspiration occur during leisure. My best ideas tend to arise on my morning run, which is why I love starting my day with exercise.

Not only does R&R help inspiration strike, it benefits our mental and physical health. And, after all, it’s tough to crush productivity goals when we’re physically ill or mentally exhausted.

Make the most of your productive peak

Start your path to a more successful career today by eliminating distractions and busywork, harnessing your peak hours of the day and taking breaks when needed. There’s truly no limit to what you can accomplish by putting the 80/20 rule to work for you.

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