Working as business coach and executive mentor helping business owners and directors manage their businesses more efficiently, one of the main criteria is time management.
This article explains how Pareto’s Rule helps people realise that so much of our time is wasted. The next question is what can we do to be more efficient.
After reading this tip sheet, you will:
- know all about Pareto’s rule that governs all of our lives including the use of time
- be able to plan you day and your activities so that you use time more effectively
- realise how important it is to manage you time and have solid boundaries to your behaviour
- train yourself to have a better understanding about how you use your time
- see how you can change your behaviour to make huge savings in your time
Time management using the Pareto Rule
There are a number of actions that can be taken to improve our use of time and the first one is to use the Pareto Principle more. We all know about the Pareto rule first described by an Italian Alfredo Pareto in the late 19th century. It caused a real stir then and since has been of major use to Economists, Mathematicians and Computer Experts ever since. The thing is that it is a fact of life and we don’t apply it enough in our businesses and out time management. For example we all know that
- 20% of your carpet will only get 80% of the wear,
- 20% of your clothes will be worn 80% of the time
- 20% of your customers will provide 80% of your sales
- 20% of your team will produce 80% of the growth
- 20% of our time will produce 80% of the returns
So why don’t we do something about the 80% of the carpet? Or the clothes? So what can we do about the time angle? You need to decide which of the 20% you need to be better at. Here are some strategies to help you:-
- First of all leave time to plan your use of time? This is a major area where we slip up. The best way is to set aside specific time outside of the Work time to do certain items, like calling customers, making the list, showing the plan, going to meetings, contacting prospects, etc. Don’t forget to plan Family time at least once a week.
- The next thing is that you need to do is to write out tomorrow’s “to do list” at the end of the previous day, so that you use the most productive part of your day working on the items. Obviously you need to plan your Work time as well as Network time along the same lines.
Once you’ve got your list you can then decide what can be left off? i.e. categorise each item into either Urgent or non-Urgent and Important or non-Important. Most of the “The nons” can be deleted first of all ..for example
- polishing the car (take it through the car wash)
- cutting the grass ( unless you keep losing the dog or the neighbours are complaining)
- the dusting (dust will only begin to fall the minute you have dusted).
The Urgent Important items go straight to the top. You can then think which of the Urgent/non Important ones you may want to keep. Remember that you need to be even more efficient with your work time.
Another way to look at the work list is what can be taken off and given to someone else to do i.e. use your core competencies better and similarly use theirs better?
- typing leave it for the typists
- leave the filing for the secretary
- drawing for the designers
- bill chasing for the accounts department
- just do what you are naturally best at.
Those items that fall into the area of your core competencies will be done the best and the quickest. This in turn will leave more time at the end of the day for Networking or for having sandwich with a prospect at lunchtime. Next try to reduce interruptions like telephone calls and return them in batches. Now this is not possible in lots of situations but the amount of time taken in refocusing on the work at hand mounts up dramatically
Can you be more efficient with your time i.e.
- when driving to a customer or to show the plan listen to a self development tape/book tape,
- when going to a meeting or seminar and you have a spare seat take a team member with you
- have reports put on to audio tape as well as hard copy and listen to them when driving
- have meetings at Work at the end of the day 30 minutes before people normally leave, so that their minds are really focused on the agenda, and the meeting is kept to the point
What support systems can be adopted to free up time i.e.
- use a small voice recorder for those ideas that come when you least expect them or for memos and letters that need to be done at odd times of the day, for the calls that you need to make to team mambers
- employ a press cutting service to supply the articles that you want to read, you’d be amazed at the time you spend reading news that you don’t really use and which in some cases leaves you with a negative attitude
- pay a gardener to keep the garden clean and tidy and use the time with the family, unless of course gardening is your relax time, etc.
© William Barron Creating Insight