The 80/20 rule of time management | How to be more productive with your time and create a happy balance – with free worksheet

When you think of balance, you most likely think of a scale, perfectly poised in the middle with both sides equalling each other. But when I talk about finding balance in your life, I mean doing more of what you love, whilst still doing some of the things that you have to do, but to a lesser extent.

80_20 rule of time management

Time management and productivity

Today I want to talk to you about time management and productivity. What does it meant to be productive to you? Getting a lot done? Finishing your to do list? Or doing lots of the things that are important to you? I can get a lot of things done in a day, but none of them may be relevant to my larger goals or intentions for the week. In which case I wouldn’t consider that as productive. It’s about pairing my actions with my intentions, and getting one step closer to achieving my goals. Here’s how we can all be a little more productive.

The Italians were (sorry – I mean are!) smart – Pareto’s Law

You may well have heard of Pareto’s Law? This was named after an Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, who observed that 80% of Italy’s income was generated by 20% of the Italian population. It turned out the law could be applied to a host of things, suggesting that the majority of the results in any given situation are determined by a small number of causes.

Make your time count

My Dad has been waffling on about this rule for a while, but it was only when I read Tim Ferris’s ‘The 4-Hour Work Week’ that I actually paid attention to it. When you start to look at the things you do on a regular basis, where you spend the majority of your time, and what produces the most valuable outcomes you will see this 80/20 rule a lot. The key here, once you’ve identified where you are spending the majority of your time, is to create harmony and avoid wasting your precious time on the 80% tasks that produce very little outcome or satisfaction to you.

Manage your time by knowing what actions are important to you!

Since there are only 24 hours in the day, we should be maximising our time to be sure that we are taking action that gets us closer to our goals.

Let me give you a few examples to help you identify your own 80/20s:

Work life:

80/20:

I spend 80% of my time driving to & training my individual Personal Training clients, when actually the few Bootcamps I run a year actually generate the most revenue for me. If I were to be more revenue orientated, I would take on less PT clients and organise more Bootcamps!

Decisive Action:

Turns out I just love my clients too much and won’t be doing this any time soon  ; )

(But at least I’ve identified it as a work on point, and I will be looking to organise more Bootcamps in the future!)

Can you relate?

Do you spend your time focussing on those small deals that cause you lots of hassle, when actually focussing your attention on the bigger players may be more financially rewarding, and less stressful for you? Do you spend hours trying to figure out how to do a technical update, when if you delegated it to someone else who has the know-how, your time could be spent excelling in what you’re good at?

Home life:

80/20:

I was spending 80% of the time I had in the evening on tasks – washing/cleaning/cooking/organising/following up on emails – and 20% of my time eating/chatting with my husband/relaxing – the things that nourish me!

Decisive action:

I decided to dedicate a couple of hours twice a week for meal prep so I could enjoy my evening meals without having to prep and clean up. I took more evenings off, and employed a cleaner twice a week to help with the house chores!

Can you relate?

Are you constantly missing out on ‘the fun stuff’ with your family and friends because you have to clean the kitchen/get the washing done/wait for the postman??! I was fortunate enough to be able to get a cleaner on board to help me, but if you can’t do the same, maybe you can ask your family for more help with chores, so you can spend more quality time together afterwards? Maybe once a month you can treat yourself by taking your clothes to the laundrette to be washed and ironed so you can go to that Yoga workshop that you know will make you feel amazing?!

Relationships:

80/20:

I spend the majority of my time socialising with my friends over here in Bahrain, but as a result I am speaking to my best friends and family back in the UK less. But I get a deep sense of happiness and satisfaction bonding with my family back home (80%) and therefore should focus more of my efforts on that.

Decisive action:

I must realise that sometimes a phone call is just as good as a face to face get together, and invest more of my time connecting with my loved ones back in the UK. However, I still enjoy seeing my friends over here so that doesn’t need to stop. I just need to find the balance that keeps me connected in both areas : )

Can you relate?

Do you have that one friend who is constantly complaining, and you’re always there at the end of the phone/in a coffee shop/going around to make her feel better? Is it draining you and taking up time that you could be investing in yourself, or the people that are more important to you? Be honest with yourself, and put your effort into the people that you truly care about, and make you feel loved and honoured in return.

Or perhaps there is a small proportion of your friends (20%) that are causing 80% of your unhappiness due to put downs, negative comments and self-comparison? Perhaps it’s time to get rid of those 20%!

This can even be applied to weight loss. 80% of your positive changes in your body will come from the small but significant 20% of changes you are making to your diet and lifestyle!

Key take away for productive time management

The take away point is simple. Put your focus into the activities and actions that produce the best outcomes for you. It doesn’t always have to be monetary – it can be satisfaction, happiness, peace of mind etc!

Take action now

So now I have some action steps for you to ensure you are using the 80/20 rule to your advantage, and to achieve a happy balance within your day to day life.

click here to download the worksheet and go through the exercise to start achieving your balance with good time management, doing the things that are important to you!

Let me know where you identified the 80/20 rule show up in your life, and what you are doing to change that so you become more productive with your time!

Related: Time to reassess | Intention Setting

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