by Mandy Green, Busy Coach
Coach, have you ever sat down and really analyzed how effective and efficient you are being with your day? Which one do you focus on? Is one more important to you than the other?
In his book, The On-Purpose Person, author Kevin McCarthy describes the difference between efficiency and effectiveness. “Efficiency is doing things right in the most economical way possible; effectiveness is doing the right things that get you closer to your goals.”
It seems to me that being efficient without regard to effectiveness is the default mode of the universe. What you do is infinitely more important than how you do it. Now, being efficient is still important, but we all know that it is useless unless applied to the right things.
There are two ways for you to increase productivity that are inversions of each other:
1. Limit daily tasks just to the important to shorten your work time (80/20).
2. Shorten work time to limit your tasks so you only focus on the important (Parkinson’s Law)
Pareto’s 80/20 rule. Pareto’s Law can be summarized as follows: 20 percent of your priorities will give you 80 percent of your production.
Ask yourself these two questions about your program, your team, and your staff:
–Which 20% of sources are resulting in 80% of my desired outcomes and happiness?
–Which 20% of sources are causing 80% of my problems and unhappiness?
Once you have identified your top 20%, commit to scheduling those activities into your day, everyday. Then, go the next step further by putting a time restriction on how long you will give yourself to complete each high-priority activity.
Timothy Ferriss, in The 4-Hour Workweek introduces a concept called Parkinson’s Law. Parkinson’s Law dictates that a task will swell in perceived importance and complexity in relation to the time allotted for its completion.
The best solution is to use 80/20 and Parkinson’s Law together: Identify the few critical high-payoff tasks that contribute most to effectiveness and efficiency within your program and then schedule each activity with very short and clear deadlines.
Coach, it is critical to the success of your program that you know what your high-priority activities are and are incorporating those high-payoff activities into your schedule consistently every single day. Once identified, set an aggressive deadline for each task and block off certain sections of your day where you focus on nothing but that task to ensure completion.
If you haven’t identified your high-priority tasks and are not setting aggressive start and end times for their completion, the unimportant emails, phone calls, and people popping their head into your office becomes the important. These unimportant things can and will eat up a good chunk of your day if you continue to let them.