by Mandy Green, Busy Coach
The Pareto principle states that 20% of a person’s effort generates 80% of the person’s results. The corollary to this is that 20% of one’s results absorb 80% of one’s resources or efforts. For the effective use of resources, the coach’s challenge is to distinguish the right 20% from the trivial many.
Identify the high-payoff activities within your program. High-payoff activities are the things you do that bring the greatest value to your program, team, or staff. They are the three to five activities that lie in your “sweet spot.” You do them with excellence. These activities could be building relationships with recruits, making phone calls to parents, sending emails to recruits, managing your current team, etc. They are your unique discipline or distinctive skills and abilities that distinguish you from other staff members.
Being able to prioritize your personnel, time, and energy will allow you the freedom to produce more efficient results.
Here are a few exercises taken from John Maxwell’s book Developing the Leader within You that should get you started:
Determine what 20% of the work gives 80% of the return. These activities could be building relationships with recruits, making phone calls to parents, sending emails to recruits, managing your current team, etc. They are your unique discipline or distinctive skills and abilities that distinguish you from other staff members.
Make a list of the tasks that you are working on today, this week, and in the near future.
Place each task next to the appropriate category below.
- List of things to do now (High Importance/High Urgency). Tackle these tasks first;
- List of things to do (High Importance/Low Urgency). Set deadlines for completion and get these tasks worked into your daily routine
- List of things to delegate (Low Importance/High Urgency). Find quick, efficient ways to get this work done without much personal involvement. Delegate it.
- Low Importance/Low Urgency: Busy or repetitious work. Delegate it.
Staff/Team Oversight and Leadership Development
- Determine which people are the top 20% producers. Start by making a list of everyone on your team.
- For each individual, ask yourself, ”if this person takes a negative action against me or withdraws his or her support from me, how big will the impact be?”
- If their absence would hinder your ability to function, put a check mark next to that name.
- When you finish making the check marks, you will have marked between 15 and 20 percent of the names. These are the vital relationships that need to be developed and given the proper amount of resources to grow your program.
- Meet one-on-one with the people you checked above.
- Spend 80 percent of your “people time” with the top 20%
- Spend 80 percent of your personal development dollars on the 20%
Sit down and spend the time to find out how this principle applies within almost every aspect of your program, and you have the power to set the vital priorities which will mean the difference between failure, survival, and success. This principle will save you time, effort, money and resources, and take you further down the road to success.
Knowing what your high-payoff activities are and actually doing them, however, are two very different things. Many surveys that I have read over the past several years have shown that the average American worker spends only 50-60 percent of the workday on activities specified in her or her job description. That means that workers waste 40-50 percent of their time on low-payoff activities, tackling things that others with less skill or training should be doing. Are you in this category coach?
By disciplining yourself to clearly identify your high-payoff activities, and then by filling your calendar with those things and appropriately delegating, delaying, or dropping the low-payoff activities, you can and will get more productive things done everyday, reduce your stress, and increase your happiness.
The more time you spend doing the high-payoff activities, the more value you will bring to your team, program, and staff. By disciplining yourself to clearly identify your high-payoff activities, and then by filling your calendar with those things and appropriately delegating, delaying, or dropping the low-payoff activities, you can and will get more high-payoff activities done everyday, reduce your stress, and increase your happiness.
Homework-Time tracking on an Activity Log. Do a Realistic Time Audit
Time management experts stress that before you can make needed changes in the way you manage time, you need to look at how you spend your time now. What activities or tasks are taking up the biggest chunks of your life? What items do you hate or put off most? Are you allowing others to dictate uses for your time that aren’t productive or don’t fit your agenda?
By doing a brutally honest assessment, you can begin to change the way you manage yourself in relation to time.