Over the past few weeks the Kahuna team has been going through this book: 80/20 Sales and Marketing by Perry Marshall.
It’s been an eye opening book explaining how the 80/20 principle affects so many areas of life and business.
I don’t want to spend a lot of time going into what 80/20 is. In extremely simple term, what it means is that 80 percent of the results you see come from 20 percent of your effort.
I think most of us know this intuitively. Maybe we don’t have numbers to put on it, but there’s always this sense that we could be getting more out of our time or more out of the work we put in.
The Power of 80/20
The book illuminates the incredible power of 80/20 when you’re able to understand it. If it’s true that 80 percent of my results come from 20 percent of my effort – then what would happen if I focused 80 percent of my time on those 20 percent, high producing tasks?
And even more than that – when we get into focusing on the tasks that produce more value, we will continue to find the 80/20 principle at work – and can go even deeper into getting more for what we do.
But my goal today is not to focus on the power of 80/20. Like I said, I think we get this, but our bigger challenge is figuring out how to make it work for us.
I don’t know how many times I’ve been frustrated with my own productivity, and then created a to-do list of things I need to accomplish in a day, but then after a few days stopped keeping up with to-do lists.
But as a staff, going through this book (Tim Ferris’ Four Hour Work Week is another great resource on this productivity) I have taken away some key lessons on how to make 80/20 work in our favor.
What is already working?
Whatever it is you are working on, you may be frustrated with the amount of results you are seeing. But no matter what, you have done something that has brought you closer to your goals.
We have good days and bad days, great moments and wasteful moments. A key to 80/20 is to go by results, not what you think.
Take a step back and evaluate what’s working. What are some things you have done that have produced results? Maybe it was something counter-intuitive that worked one time. Maybe it’s something you don’t really like doing, but every time you do it makes a big difference.
If you’re serious about reaching your goals, these are the things you may need to focus in on. Don’t make things too difficult. It something is working or has worked in the past, maybe you can repeat it to keep momentum forward.
Keep it Simple
One of the reasons I struggle with keeping to-do lists is I end up writing down about 10-15 things that I need to get done, which causes me to feel overwhelmed, and then I get only a few done that are moderately important.
If you want to roll with a to-do list – don’t get me wrong I love to-do lists – write down 2 things that are important for taking you closer to your goals. Focus in 100 percent on getting those things done. If they are truly important – then you will have had a good day by getting them done.
Two 20 percent tasks is a lot better than eight 80 percent tasks.
We don’t know what’s in our 80/20 until we gain feedback and learn from our results. See what’s working and what isn’t. Don’t just Try a bunch of stuff with the idea that some will work and some won’t.
Try, and learn what is working.
“It’s not failure, it’s testing,” – Perry Marshall
Just as important as focusing on the high-value tasks is eliminating those tasks which are wasting our time. Evaluate everything and see what is wasting your time and what you can eliminate.
This will allow you to focus, and get back to the things that matter most.
Where Are You Going?
Most importantly in all of this is to remember the great principle of Stephen Covey who said to begin with the end in mind.
The best way to focus on things that are actually important is to decide where you are going. What’s the big goal that you are pressing toward?
When you keep that goal in the front of your mind, you can measure all of your decision and activity through the lens of: Is this taking me closer to where I want to be?
And the beauty of 80/20 is that it’s everywhere – not just in business.
It applies to finances, relationships and personal goals. Once you learn how to measure everything by your goals, you can drill in deeper into the most important 20%, find what’s working and become exponentially more productive in life.