Time is one of those things that we have an abundance of butcan change in an instant. When working on projects, time is often mismanaged or neglected. If we don’t structure our day to maximize our time, things begin to pile up. Loose ends appear, leading to procrastination or eventual burnout.
Today’s issue will focus on utilizing methods to help us be more effective with our time and keeping us in line with our timelines and projects:
80/20 Rule (Pareto Principle)
Vilfredo Pareto created the Pareto Principle when he observed 20% of the people controlled 80% of the wealth in Italy. The principle states that approximately 80% of the results come from 20% of the efforts. Identify and focus on the tasks or activities that contribute the most to your goals. Prioritize your time and energy on the tasks that yield the most significant impact and avoid getting caught up in less important or time-consuming activities.
80/20 is one variation of this principle. There have been other adaptations, such as the 64/4 rule, resulting from applying the 80/20 rule to itself. This principle can be applied to any project or task.
Go through projects and tasks identifying high-priority items
With the project identified, define the highest-risk potential
Focusing on the 20% doens’t mean we should ignore the remaining 80%
This technique involves breaking your work into timed intervals. Set a timer for 25 minutes (known as one "Pomodoro") and focus on a single task until the timer goes off. Take a short break for 5 minutes, then repeat. After completing four Pomodoros, take a more extended break of 15-30 minutes. This technique helps maintain focus, prevents burnout, and improves productivity.
The Pomodoro Technique was created by Francesco Cirillo in the 1980s when he was in college. In order to keep his attention to studying he used his kitchen alarm clock which was shaped like a tomato.
Takes long complex tasks breaking them down into manageable 25 minutes sessions follow by a rest period
Procrastinaion occurs in three ways. Afraid of mistakes, being pressured by others and you feel pressure to be perfect
Write down a list of projects you would like to accomplish. Apply the Pomodoro technique to each project. At the end, look back and see what you accomplished with this new structure
🐸 Eat that Frog
This technique, popularized by author Brian Tracy, emphasizes tackling your most challenging or important task first thing in the morning. The idea is to "eat the frog" (the most difficult task) before doing anything else. By starting your day with a sense of accomplishment, you build momentum and reduce the tendency to procrastinate. Breaking a big task into smaller, manageable steps can also help make it more approachable.
It can be helpful to prioritize tasks based on their deadlines, importance, or impact on your goals. Making a to-do list and organizing tasks in order of priority can assist in focusing your efforts on the most crucial activities and avoiding wasted time on less significant tasks, as we discussed in the Organizing Ourselves issue.
Identify your most challenge task or project
Work on the identified task first thing in the morning
Eat your frog aka complete the task. Rinse and repeat
Try not to plan the frogs to far in advance
Organizing our time and most importantly tackling tasks provide us with a sense of accomplishment. However, when we float from project to project not completing the project at hand, we quickly begin to be overwhelmed. This feeling quickly snowballs into procrastination, incomplete tasks, or moving to another subject entirley. I admit this is somehting I am very guilty of. I hope we can all utilize the techniques shared in this issue to organize ourselves better becoming productivity machines.
These techniques are barley scratching the surface as there are plenty more ways to shape our day to day lives. Try one of the above techniques first, and let me know if it helps you. Try each one for a week and pick your favourite to continue to use.