Get More Organized By Doing Less: The 80/20 Rule
Alicia on ‘Pareto’s Principle’
“In 1906, a very smart Italian economist named Pareto came up with the Pareto Principle, also known as the ‘80/20 Rule’. Quite simply put, the 80/20 rule states that in any pursuit a few things (20%) really matter while everything else (80%) is trivial, so the most efficient way forward is to focus on the 20% that is absolutely critical to success and spend less or no time on the rest. Businesses all over the world use the 80/20 rule to gain incredible efficiency. Certainly, this rule applies to the world of organization and we encourage you to apply it. How liberating to think that if you focus on the few, important things, you will take care of 80% of your problems!”
Sarah on “Letting Go”
"In order to just focus on the 20% that matters, you really need to be able to let go of the need to become ‘perfectly organized.’ Perfection requires a superhuman effort to achieve and constant, superhuman vigilance to maintain. The risk of focusing on achieving perfection is that you miss out on life. The beauty of the 80/20 rule is that it enables you to get organized so that you can do more of what you want, not more organizing! You have enough work on your plate already; you don’t need another full time job. So let the need to achieve perfection go.”
The Section Criteria
Here are three things to consider as you evaluate which tasks matter, and which are trivial.
#1: What’s the big picture?
At first glance, it may seem as though everything on your to do list is an absolute priority. But in the long run, only a few things really matter. It’s easy to get lost in the whirlwind, so, set aside five to ten minutes at the start of the week to review your big ‘to-do’ list and at least mentally identify the four or five tasks that are most important.
#2: What would happen if it didn’t get done now?
One incredible marker of a top 20% priority is a high-impact, negative consequence if the task is not done now. If you didn’t organize that junk pile on your desk today, would you miss some bills that have to be paid by tomorrow and incur usurious late fees? If you didn’t get little Logan’s after school commitments entered into your master calendar, would you be likely to schedule over and miss important dates and events? If the implications of not getting something organized are significant, it counts as part of the 20%.
#3: How will you feel if it doesn’t get done now?