For employees, employers, and company bosses, success is usually dependent on setting proper priorities and sticking to them. Priorities boost success because they increase your focus and help you avoid wasting time on tasks that are not important. Unfortunately, in business, it can sometimes seem that everything is a priority and that time will wait for no one.
Setting priorities to become successful doesn’t mean just focusing what you need to do at work. Priorities are often connected with where we are in life and what our values are. However, without conscious effort on our part, our goals, and what we want to achieve, life can become a big blur with no clear focus.
One of the founding principles to knowing what our priorities should be and where to direct our efforts achieving them is to know the Pareto principle, or the rule of 80/20.
This principle was developed an Italian economist who saw that in life 80% of results come from 20% of the effort. Vilfredo Pareto discovered that about 80% of Italy’s wealth was controlled by 20% of the population. The 80/20 rule can be applied to almost every business situation and in your personal life and it can help establish priorities for business success.
When juggling with work life, family life, and personal matters, there can be so many tasks to do that it is difficult to know where to start. The 80/20 rule tells us that from a list of 10 tasks, only 2 of them will accomplish the most good. So, it is these 2 tasks that should become a priority in order to achieve the greatest success.
So, write down a list of 10 tasks that you have to do in a day’s work. Then ask yourself: if I could only accomplish 2 of the tasks on the list, which 2 would be the ones that would impact my day the most? In answering this one simple question, you have just chosen the 2 most valuable tasks to perform in the day.
Using the simple rule of setting priorities, you can avoid spending too much time on small goals and activities that negatively influence your success. Of course, as you finish your most important tasks, you will then have time to finish your other jobs. However, these less important tasks won’t waste valuable time with little results.
Setting priorities based on the 80/20 rule can help be successful in any area of life. Here are just a few examples:
One way that you can boost the success of your business is by increasing your customer base and attracting more visitors to your website. Usually, about 20% of your customers are responsible for 80% of sales. So, focus on keeping those customers happy as a top priority. Also, analyse what is it that attracts those customers to your company and then build on that.
If you run a website, very often 20% of your marketing efforts and strategy brings in 80% of website visitors. So, one priority to focus on strengthening the marketing strategies are working for your website to boost the success of your marketing strategy. That way, setting the proper priorities will bring greater success to your business.
The 80/20 rule can also be used to boost success in your personal and family life. For example, there are only a few people like your spouse, close family members, and friends who provide us the most value and satisfaction in life. Therefore, part of your daily and weekly priorities should be to nurture those close relationships.
It would be a mistake to spend so much time on meaningless relationships that the people who mean the most to us drift away. Strong relationships with valued people will make you more successful in your personal and professional life.
Another way that the 80/20 principle can help set proper priorities is how you use your skills and spend your time. In personal life and in the workplace 20% of your strongest skills gives you 80% of results. Try and identify your skills and don’t waste time on activities that are pointless. Set goals on how to spend time on your daily activities that make you the most productive.
Photo by Nghia Le.