If you’re anything like me, you’ve read (way) more than you need to about all things related to your business. I’m what I call a chronic information researcher and consumer, and this is my season of doing. I just decided that last week when I realised how poorly I’m doing with staying on track with my goals for Q1 of 2016.
While I was going through my Best Year Yet 2016*, I realised it wasn’t that I had done nothing all this time, it’s just that I’d been trapped in the allure of “busyness”. I was juggling a lot of tasks, and I was definitely feeling the stress of ‘keeping up’ in my bid to persevere (which was my word for the year), but I’d gone and filled my days with tasks that seemed important but were just distractions from the fear of taking action on the work that really mattered, which would be tasks to help me build an audience, create products, or generate the income I wanted.
My absence on the blog is the result of not taking productive action. Also this course I’ve been working on, and I’m still so excited to share with you all. I was hard at work, recording content that I know you’ll love, and that will help you make major leaps with your website and online strategy, but then I let being ill and other life events get in the way of actually finishing things neatly. I know that happens, and the worst would be too give up without picking up where I left off.
DISCOVER YOUR TOP 3 TASKS
I’m back, but what’s different is this principle I’m using to guide the work I do. It’s called the Pareto Principle, which states that roughly 80% of the results in any situation come from 20% of the causes or efforts. So 80% of any results you book in your business comes from only 20% of the efforts you put in.
If this is the first time you’ve heard of this, let me tell you how big the implications are: it essentially means that you can cut down 80% of the work/effort you’re putting into your business, which isn’t productive or doesn’t contribute to 80% of the results in attaining your end goals, and still create outstanding results.
What’s important is to identify and focus your efforts on the tasks that DO create the major results.
If you’re unclear how to do that, I have a simple THREE-STEP process shared by Inc. that I use every time to distill down to the main tasks that matter the most and produce the maximum results.
- Begin by making a list. Don’t be careful or filter your thoughts just yet, just jot down all the things you think you need to do/want to focus on this day/week/month/year.
- ext, get strict with yourself and prioritise each item by the amount of effort required (AE) on a scale of 1 to 10 (with 1 being the least amount of effort), and the potential positive results (PR), on a scale of 1 to 10 (with 10 being the highest impact).
- Lastly, divide the potential results by the amount of effort to get a "priority" ranking. So, that will be: PR/AE = Priority
Do the items with the lowest resulting priority number first.
To give you an idea, here’s some sample tasks I might have in the week:
- Task 1: Write weekly business report
Effort=7, Result=9, Priority=0.7
- Task 2: Promote blog posts on Pinterest (with Tailwind)
Effort=2, Result=8, Priority=0.25
- Task 3: Weekly admin tasks
Effort=8, Result=2, Priority=4
So based on this new priority-based order, I’d do Task 2 first, Task 1 second, and Task 3 last.
Take action by writing out your own list NOW, and prioritise each task based on the effort required and the result it will produce. You don’t have to be 100% detailed, but a fair estimate will go a long way in helping you build a well-prioritised daily/weekly/monthly/yearly task list for your business.
If you'd rather save time and not go through the task of making this list yourself, I’ve made a printable that you can use as you need to get you started quickly (preferably, immediately!).
Once you have your 20%, use it as a filter to decide what tasks deserve your time and energy, and remember to stick to the 20% for 80% of the magic! Sounds like a sweet deal, right?