Tip of the Day #7: Highest leverage tasks

A “hidden secret” states that 80% of your results come from just 20% of your input. This means that 80% of your time (input) is, well, irrelevant. So what is the 20% of input that yields the most results for you? What are your highest leverage tasks?

You might know that this “hidden secret” I mentioned earlier is the Pareto Principle, also known as the 80/20 rule. If you don’t know this rule yet – you are in for a treat – I suggest you read those articles first.

What Is Your 20%? What Are Your Highest Leverage Tasks?

Are you one of those people that start by checking their e-mail in the morning. I know I was. And I can tell you, checking and responding to e-mail is not one of your highest leverage tasks.

In order to find your highest leverage tasks you should ask yourself if this specific task adds value. It is highly likely that there are just a few activities that you do each week that are really worth it. What are those tasks? Where is your 20% of input that results in 80% – or even more – of your desired results?

It all starts by identifying the to-do’s that deliver those kinds of results. Then work on those so called “highest leverage tasks” and see your results skyrocket. Your highest leverage tasks will give you the best return on investment. The investment is, in this case, your precious time. It’s not just about working smarter. It’s about working smarter on the right things. You can use the 80/20 rule at work for great success.

Finding Your Most Valuable Activities

Write down the fields of expertise, or categories, that you do at your job. Make a table that clearly shows how much time you spent on each of those categories (I suggest Toggl to keep track of your time). In a second column, write down the estimated value of this specific category. What are the categories that you think yield the most results?

Sure, some trial and error is necessary before you will find that precious 20% of highest leverage tasks. But once you have found them, you will never be able to go back to the way things were. And for once, that’s good news.

And what about those tasks that yield low results, but for some reason need to be done anyway? Eliminate or delegate. It’s as simple as that. if you want great results, focus on your highest leverage tasks and get rid of the rest.

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