My favorite principle in life is the 80/20 principle, and it’s had a huge impact on my business, relationships, happiness, you name it. Simply put, 80% of results are from 20% of your efforts; 80% of success comes from 20% of your work, 80% of stress comes from 20% of your environment, etc. The bulk of your results will be driven by a small subset of your time, money, and energy, and this subset is your wheelhouse. You can upscale your life by understanding your wheelhouse, focusing on it, and multiplying your results with the same relative effort.
I’m a firm believer that you should work smart, not hard. Too many people focus on improving their weaknesses rather than spending that same time leveraging their strengths. But if you can understand where the bulk of your success, production, and happiness comes from, you can multiply your results by pinpointing your focus to that area.
I challenge you, once a year, to sit down and really think about your wheelhouse. What are you great at? What makes you happy? What causes your stress? Take hours to get to know your wheelhouse, and make that your focus for the rest of the year. How much time can you spend on wheelhouse activities, and how little time can you spend on activities that deliver less value? Leverage your competitive advantage.
Hand in hand with the 80/20 rule is my second favorite principle, the four quadrants of time management. Every activity in your life can be broken down into one of four areas:
- Quadrant 1: Important and urgent
- Crises, emergencies, things that you have to do right now
- Quadrant 2: Important but not urgent
- Forward-thinking, planning, strategy, preparation
- Quadrant 3: Not important but urgent
- Distractions, interruptions, busy work
- Quadrant 4: Not important or urgent
- Time wasters
Successful people spend most of their time in the top quadrants, focusing on important work. But really successful people spend almost all of their time in the second quadrant, focusing on work that adds value and minimizes future stress. This is everything from your health and relationships to your business strategy, training systems, and process simplification.
Too many business owners get caught in the first quadrant, and are working hard but not smart. Smart work takes care of these issues before they become problems. Set aside time to do work on the important but not urgent tasks, and you’ll be able to spot and handle opportunities or threats before they become urgent.
Three Key Takeaways
- 80% of your success will come from 20% of your efforts, maximize your success by finding your wheelhouse
- Work smarter, not harder, to drive long-term success
- Focus on tasks that are important but not urgent to make your life easier down the road
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