Could the ’80/20’ system revolutionise your office productivity?
It has been known – for a very long time, I might add – that most of us have rather inefficient working habits. It seems that, across almost all industries and sectors, only 20% of our daily time generates as much as 80% of our profits. The remaining 80% – the vast majority of our working time – generates as little as 20% of our profits. If you spend some time mapping out the way you spend your day and how much profitability each activity generates, you’ll probably see a similar pattern.
So how can you actually apply the 80/20 principle to become more productive?
That all depends on exactly what you do. You will have to be creative in applying this principle, but I can give you two general examples that you can adapt on your own.
If your work is largely client-focused, look at your client list. Unless you are very lucky, you will find that one group of clients takes up the majority of your time despite contributing the minority of your fees. So, why are you spending so much of your time for so little reward?
If you are in a position to choose which clients or customers you work with, try to unload the least efficient ones to subordinates or consider adjusting the fee structure for these clients to match the amount of your time they require. Of course this will lose you some of their business, but if you feel that you can replace these clients you won’t really be losing anything. Spend your time with your best customers or your most important clients.
If your work is not client-focused, map out a typical work week task by task. Now, determine the actual value of these tasks, how much they profit you or the company, and how much they contribute to your actual productivity. Again, you will most likely find that most of your time is spend doing the least profitable – least efficient – tasks.
You aren’t an entry level employee! Your time is worth more than that, and should be reserved for the more profitable tasks. Delegate the lesser tasks, even eliminating them where possible.
Granted, this seems obvious.
Nonetheless, very few of us seem to notice the patter, or do anything about it when we do. If you are committed to being more efficient, you have to be open to seeing things in new ways, and actually acting on these realisations!