Isn't it amazing that some people can produce huge results in the same 24 hours that we all have? Whether or not we realize it, we victimize ourselves by not appropriately deciding what to do with our time. Instead, we let our time decide what to do with us!
Time is a commodity, and no matter who we are, we experience many demands on this precious commodity. The most critical step ? once a course of action is decided ? is to create a to-do list. Too often, people stop at this point and don't recognize the next, critical step. In his bestseller How to Get Control of Your Time and Your Life, Alan Lakein says it is imperative to finish the list by setting priorities; the list isn't complete until priorities have been established.
One of the important reasons for the prioritized list ? other than sanity of course ? has to do with a neat maxim called the Pareto Principle. Essentially, the Pareto Principal states that roughly 80% of all generated results come from approximately 20% of generative activities. This is valid in both macro and micro environments: most religious leaders say that 80% of their tithes come from 20% of church attendees; many sales managers realize that 80% of their sales come from the top 20% of their salesmen. In business or life in general, 80% of the results achieved are generated by 20% of the activities. Whatever When we examine our to-do lists, we should prioritize our list beginning with the the top 20% activities.
Top time management trainers and writers recommend the ABC system of prioritizing. Thus, A activities are Vital ? activities that must be carried out at all costs. These are the "top 20%" activities. Very often, these are items that are least easy to do because they are not apparently urgent! B items are Important. While these are often more urgent than the A activities, they are, in reality not of vital importance. Finally, C activities are Trivial and may represent 80% of all the things which we find ourselves doing. In an odd inversion or proportion, A activities are more vital, while C activities are more urgent. People that are ineffective with their time end up spending a lot of time on C activities. In the whole scope of activities and accomplishments, the A activities are valuable, rewarding and help one move toward established goals. C activities have the great effect of making one weary. Don't confuse activity with accomplishment! Franklin Time Management Founder, Hyrum Smith, states that "urgencies act on priorities but they are not priorities." To create large results and progress in life, and business, focus on priorities.
We must closely examine our top 20% activities. What activities must we engage in to create the desired results? Now, let's figure out how we can spend 80% of our time on those activities. This powerful discipline has been mastered by people who are producing powerful results in their lives and businesses. We too can learn to master it and master our lives!
Eric Johnson is a regular contributor to the Investor's Value View newsletter. To learn how to send comments to Mr. Johnson or to subscribe to the Investor's Value View newsletter, visit http://www.valueview.net
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