Developing as a professional means cultivating the ability to set priorities and doing what’s most important. Professionals understand how to priortize and easily move from task to task, staying on point.
Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto first wrote about the 80/20 Rule or Pareto Principle. According to Pareto, 20% of activities account for 80% of results. For example, 20% of your customers account for 80% of your sales. If you have 20 items on your To Do list, four of them will produce more and be worth more than the other 16 items on the list. The key to productivity is to do the 20% first.
To set priorities, ask yourself these questions:
- Does this task have value? If so, to whom does it have value?
- What is the value of doing this task?
- Does this task move you in the direction of your goals?
- On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the most important, how important is this task for achieving your goals?
- Does the task have a deadline? If so, what is the deadline?
- Can the task be performed at one time or do you need to break it down into smaller tasks?
Prioritize tasks based on their importance to your goals. The most important tasks that contribute the most to your goals should be in the top 20% of activities.