The very worst use of your time is to do what need not be done
at all. The Pareto Principle says that 20% of your activities will
account for 80% of the value of your activities. This means that,
if you have a list of ten items to accomplish, two of those items
will be worth more than the other eight items altogether.
To achieve great things, you must always be concentrating on
the small number of activities that contribute the greatest value
to your life and your work.
The value of anything in your order of priorities can be
measured by assessing the potential consequences of doing it or not
doing it. Something that is important has significant consequences
to your life and your career. Something that is unimportant has few
or no consequences of significance to your life or career. The mark
of the superior thinker is your ability to consider possible
consequences before you begin.
Ask the Key
Continually ask yourself, "What is the most valuable use of my
time, right now?" And whatever it is, work on that. Your ability to
discipline yourself to work on those few tasks that can make the
greatest difference in your life is the key quality that makes
everything else possible for you.
Here is how you can apply this law immediately:
First, make a list of everything that you do as a part of your
job. Now, analyze the list and select the three to five things that
are more important than everything else put together.
Second, imagine that you are going to receive a $100,000 bonus
at the end of the month if you can work on your highest priority
items every minute of the day. How would that change your behavior?
What would you do differently?
excerpted from Brian Tracy's "How to Master Your
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