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What Should You REALLY Be Doing Today?

I believe that leaders never advance to a point where they no longer need to prioritize.

Great leaders know that activity is not necessarily accomplishment. That is why they follow the 80/20 rule, or as many call it, the Pareto Principle. 

The 80/20 rule sounds like a mathematical formula and in some ways it is but don’t fret, this isn’t a lesson on statistics.  The rule came from an Italian economist, Vilfredo Pareto, who stated that 80% of the Italian income was earned by 20% of the Italian population. 

What this means is that 80% of your outcomes come from 20% of your inputs.  

Here are some relevant examples: 

  • Productivity (20% of your time per day brings 80% of your results)
  • Habits (20% of the cups that I own are used on a regular basis)
  • Happiness (20% of your activities create 80% of your happiness) 
  • Revenue (20% of your product brings 80% of the revenue)
  • Assets (20% of my wardrobe is worn 80% of the days per year)
  • Mileage (20% of the roads I drive on create 80% of my mileage)
  • Complaints (20% of your stakeholders take up 80% of your time)
  • Expenses (20% of your monthly expenses utilize 80% of your income)
  • Meetings (20% of your meeting time result in 80% of the actions)
  • Information (20% of the book contains 80% of the content)
  • Work Morale (20% of your work gives you 80% of the satisfaction)
  • Leadership (20% of the people make 80% of the decisions)
  • Volunteers (20% of your parents complete 80% of the hours)
  • Discipline (20% of your students have 80% of the office referrals)

So how can you use the 80/20 rule to maximize your outputs?  Let’s look at John Maxwell.  He talks about the fact that he is only good at a few things.  He calls them his daily 5. Every day he reads, writes, files, asks questions and adds value. Therefore, he doesn’t waste his time with those things he cannot do or does not want to do.  By focusing on what you are good at – those few things; and not waste time on those things you are not good at, you maximize your efficient self and are able to improve upon and increase your skillset on what you are good at and what you love to do.  

Basically, the Pareto Principle tells us to focus on what’s most important each day to achieve the goal we set. So block that time off daily!

Your inner response: "But Tom, you don't understand. I have so much going on with teachers and remote online learning and parents!"

My response to you: "I think I understand, so are saying that being a leader is really time consuming and you get pulled in so many directions and have to make tons of decisions for now and the future. Is that right?" 

Your response: "Yes, that's right."

My response back: "Is this how you want to spend your day?" 

If not, keep reading...

Malcolm Gladwell speaks of how to become an expert; the common thread is spending 10,000 hours perfecting one’s craft.  If you spread yourself across the board, become a Jack of all trades, master of none, then your efficiency rate decreases and no longer will the 80/20 rule work in your favor.  

Take a moment today and consider these three things:

  1. What you are required to do as a leader (these are things you only can and should do);
  2. What you are REALLY, REALLY good at (what the organization gets the greatest return when YOU do them);
  3. What you love to do. 

This list should be what you spend time EVERY DAY doing to grow yourself, your team and your organization. Anything else is just a distraction. (THIS IS YOUR DAILY 5). 

Then, list out those things that cause you to waste time and decrease your efficient self.  From there you need to either delegate them (find anyone), or dump them (stop doing them). 

Not sure what those other items are? Spend a week tracking your time using our 15 Minute Miracle. You’ll learn fast what is taking you away from your DAILY FIVE. Click here to download. 

If you are able, hire someone to do those tasks that fall on that list.  Share duties with your children, spouse, roommate, significant other, co-worker, team members etc.  

You will find that focusing on those 20% tasks, the 80% yield will be worthwhile.

Tomorrow I am going to share more about how to identify those 20% tasks to get you focused on the right things. I promise, maximizing those 20% tasks will be worthwhile. 

As Arnold said, I'll be back!

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