Priorities Clear the Path

The Pareto Principle is a well-known concept. You may know it as the 80/20 rule. Essentially 80% of meaningful results derive from 20% of the causes. In business terms, 80% of business comes from 20% of clients. When placed in the perspective of your life, the same basic 80/20 rule applies.

If you stop and think about which actions genuinely move the needle towards progress and place these actions higher up the list of to-dos, you will find yourself focusing on activity that has clear benefits to you and those around you.

The aim of starting the Purpose Planner by setting out your 6-month ‘Roles & Goals’, is so that by defining each role you play, you also clarify how you will manage each stakeholder in your life (yourself included). The big rocks, priorities, or the “20%” is now set and it is up to you to build your months and weeks around it. 

I have found that by taking 20 minutes on a Monday morning to figure out my key weekly tasks across each quadrant relative to the needs of the week, and my broader monthly or quarterly goals, I can quickly establish my “20%”. While other distractions or busy work will inevitably creep in and try to interfere, I know that if I just find the time to focus on that 20%, my week will be a success.

To this point, the weekly dashboard spread of my notebook is usually always open on my desk at work. I have found that there is a significant advantage of thinking in terms of a broader time block, i.e. a week rather than a day, as that helps me to create pockets of real productivity while allowing for the usual daily distractions as well.