How To Use A 100-Year Old Tactic To Boost Your Productivity Today

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Welcome to another productivity-boosting training. Today, I’m going to give you a rule, a principle, that’s more than 100 years old, but it can boost your productivity today. I know it sounds like a bold claim, so let’s get started.

Modern-Day Problems

See, all this time management, productivity, being overwhelmed by having way too much to do, having too many emails, too many demands to your attention – it’s a modern day problem, right? You wouldn’t imagine your grandparents or somebody from 100 years ago to have the same problems. They had different problems, they had their own struggles, but they didn’t have to deal with so many demands to their attention.

These days, we work, we work, we work, we’re so busy, we’re so overwhelmed, and sometimes we fail to just take a step back and remember that being overwhelmed and doing way too much is almost the same as doing nothing at all… but a lot less fun.

Sometimes you get so overwhelmed that you end up achieving nothing.

As Tim Ferriss likes to say, “Being busy is a form of laziness.”

I want to show you today how to eliminate that, how to take a step back, take a deep breath, and focus on what’s important. I want to show you one rule that was discovered more than 100 years ago that you can apply today, and it’s going to help you become more productive and really focus all your attention, all your energy on what’s important.

The 80/20 Rule

What is this rule? The rule is something that was discovered more than 100 years ago, and it states this: it states that 80% of the output is generated by only 20% of the input. You might’ve heard this rule; it’s called the Pareto principle, or everybody knows it as the 80-20 Rule: 80% of the output is generated by 20% of the input.

In business, 80% of the output can be all the money can be generated by 20% of the products or 20% of the sales during the year. For toy manufacturers, they generate up to 60% in one month, in the month of December. In a personal sense, 80% of your happiness can be generated by 20% of your activities. Or in a productivity sense, 80% of what you do is generated by 20% of all the time that you put into it.

This is a principle that applies almost universally everywhere, and this is a distribution that you can find in economics, in productivity, in business, in almost everything.

Finding The Right 20%

But the question is, okay, you know that 80% of the output is generated by 20% of the input, but how do you know which is the 20%? That’s the question. And that’s what I want to show you today. I want to show you how to discover that 20%, because once you know your 20%, you can say, “Okay, I know that this 20% or this 25% generates 80% of my output. Now that I know, I want to put all my attention, all my focus, all my energy on those 20%.” But first, you actually need to discover which are those 20%.

I want to give you this 3-step formula; it’s very easy. It’s going to make it very, very straightforward – how do you uncover this 20% so you can put all your efforts over there?

1. Measure The Input

First step is you need to measure the input. What do I mean by that? First, you need to start with how much time are you spending? In a productivity sense, in a time management sense, usually the input is time. You need to start with knowing your input.

How do you do that? It’s very easy. You start tracking your time. Let’s say that you’re a writer and you write a blog post every day. You need to start tracking so you know how much time do you actually spend in writing the blog post? You can use any of the time tracking tools available; you can even use your watch and say, “Okay, I started at 7:30, I finished at 9:00. It took me an hour and a half.”

Start measuring your input, whatever your activities are. Maybe it’s cleaning the house, maybe it’s going to the gym, maybe it’s a business activity, something that generates money. Whatever it is, start tracking your time so you know, out of these 5, 6, 10 activities, how much time each one takes. Maybe you know that you work 8 hours a day, but you do 10 activities; the question is, which of these activities take how much time?

Start tracking your input, because you cannot discover this balance between input and output if you don’t know your input – and in a productivity sense, the input is always going to be time. Download a time tracking application, use your watch, whatever makes it easier for you. Just start tracking your activities.

2. Estimate Your Output

In Step #1, you measured the input; you can always measure your time. In Step #2, you need to estimate your output. In business, you need to estimate how many leads you get, or how much money you make. You always have to have some sort of an idea what the output is. Sometimes it won’t be as clear; sometimes you will kind of need to estimate it or guesstimate it. But you have to have some sort of a number in your head, at least.

Let’s say you need to clean your house. What’s the output when you clean your house? It can be how much dust you put away; it can be units of dust cleaned. If you go to the gym or in a weight loss environment, the output is how many calories did you burn? In a business sense, it’s how much money you make or how many sales or how much traffic you got to your website.

Sometimes you can get this data – if it’s in a business sense, you can usually get it from your analytics. In a personal environment, you kind of have to estimate. Figure out where you want to apply this 80-20 Rule, measure your input by tracking your time, and then estimate your output. It doesn’t have to be a perfect estimation, but you need to give it a number.

3. Calculate Value Per Hour (VPH)

Once you have this input and output, you put them together, you divide the output by the input, and you get what I call VPH. This is the value per hour. If you know the input – you know how much time it takes you to write a blog post; you know your output – you know that each blog post that you write generates you 20 leads – you can estimate what is the value per hour for that writing a blog post task.

You can use the same formula over and over again for all your activities. Track your time for a week, estimate the output of each activity, and then calculate your value per hour. Then at the end of the week, on a Friday, take 10, 15 minutes, sit down, and you’re going to discover this – the 80-20 Rule. You’re going to discover that 20% of your activities generate up to 80% of the output, whatever the output is.

And of course, it might not be the perfect 80-20. It might be 90-10, it might be 82-18. But you’re going to see that this is going to apply. Now that you know which is the 20% of the activities that generate up to 80% of the results, next week you can start allocating your resources towards it. You can start allocating more time, you can start allocating more focus, more energy, towards those 20% or so of your activities that generate up to 80% of the output.

In my case, for example, what generates the biggest output for me is creating these videos for you – sharing my knowledge, sharing content through video. Of course, sometimes I need to reply to emails, I need to be on social media, but 80% of what I do is generated by 20%, which is making those videos. I do a lot of activities, but these videos generate the biggest output in my business.

You can apply this 80-20 Rule almost everywhere: in business, in your personal life, in a weight loss environment, in cleaning your house. This rule always applies. So whenever you feel overwhelmed, take a step back, measure your input, estimate your output, calculate your value per hour, and you’re going to discover this 20% that gives you so much.

And now that you know which are those 20% or so, you can concentrate the majority of your resources there because you know if you concentrate on the other 80%, you’re not going to get such big results.

Over To You Now

That’s how you do it; that’s the 80-20 Rule. Now, over to you. Measure your input for a week. Estimate your output. Calculate your value per hour. And then on Friday or on Sunday, at the end of the week, just sit down, look at the results, and now you know how to allocate your resources better so you can become more productive, you can become more successful, so you can be happier in a personal sense or make more money or have a bigger influence in a business sense.

The 80-20 Rule applies everywhere. It’s something that’s been discovered more than 100 years ago, somewhere in the 1800s, but it applies today. You can use it today and you can absolutely boost your productivity.

Use this 80-20 Rule, use this formula, put your resources where they matter the most, take massive action, make things happen, and I’ll see you next time.

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