“Just a few words on time management: Forget all about it. In the strictest sense, you shouldn’t be trying to do more in each day, trying to fill every second with a work fidget of some type.”
– Tim Ferriss
Our number one goal is to free up time.
How? By accomplishing more with less.
The skeptic in you says, “How on earth is this possible? I’m struggling even to get everything done, let alone accomplish more with less!”
By understanding and utilising a few key principles, this is all possible.
The Productivity Triad
The Productivity Triad forms the basis of achieving more with less.
It consists of E-E-P:
(E) for Elimination – eliminate what is not getting you closer towards your goal.
(E) for 80/20 – identify the 20% that produce 80% of the results.
(P) for Parkinson’s Law – set short deadlines.
“One does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity.”
– Bruce Lee
It’s time to separate the wheat from the crop.
Does doing (A) get you closer towards (B)?
If yes, then GO FOR IT!
If not then ELIMINATE!
Does doing this task get you closer towards your ultimate goal? If yes, then GO FOR IT!
Does checking email for the 30th time get you closer towards your goal? Most probably not. Unless your goal was to become a world-class email checker. Then ELIMINATE!
(E) 80/20 Principle
Discovered in 1897 by Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, the 80/20 Principle is one of the most powerful tools in business, productivity, performance and even life that enables us to achieve more with less!
Pareto originally observed that approximately 80% of the wealth and income was possessed by 20% of the population. He also discovered that this pattern of imbalance applied consistently outside of economics.
The 80/20 Principle states that:
80% of outputs result from 20% of inputs.
Phrased in other ways:
80% of consequences come from 20% of causes.
80% of results come from 20% of effort.
80% of profits come from 20% of customers.
The list goes on and in many cases the ratio can be even higher: 90/10, 95/5 and 99/1 are not uncommon. But 80/20 is a good rule of thumb to start.
With this in mind what 20% of tasks produce 80% of the results?
By focusing on the all-important few and ignoring the rest we can achieve much more with less time, energy and resources. At the same time avoid overwhelm, which is as bad and sometimes worse and more unpleasant than being unproductive.
(P) Parkinson’s law
Parkinson’s Law, introduced by the British historian and author Cyril Northcote Parkinson first in The Economist in 1955 and later in the book “Parkinson’s Law: The Pursuit of Progress”, states that:
“Work expands to fill the time available for its completion.”
A task will expand in size, importance and complexity in relation to how much time is given for its completion.
If I give you a week to complete a day’s task, 6 days will be spent stressing, fidgeting, doing nonsense and procrastinating as the task swells up in complexity and size filling up all that extra time. But if I give you a day to complete that same task the psychological barrier and complexity naturally reduces. And if I give you 2 hours to complete that same task, the short deadline forces you to focus only on the essentials in which you miraculously get it done within the deadline.
Our culture has been deeply ingrained with the 9-5 schedule, agreeing that we need 8 hours a day to complete our work. This disregards all notion to the fact that whether we can function at 9am or even execute 8 hours of actual work a day. The reality is that because we have so much time to fill, we end up wasting the majority of it.
For entrepreneurs, it’s understandable how we still adopt the same ineffective schedule as a matter of bad habit, as most of us were once employees of cubicle nation.
Using Parkinson’s Law, set short deadlines to limit tasks only to the important few.
Combining Everything To Achieve More With Less. Questions and Actions.
To save time, download the template here.
1. (E) Elimination
Ask yourself for every task:
Does doing this task get you closer towards your ultimate goal?
If yes, then GO FOR IT!
If not then ELIMINATE!
2. (E) 80/20
Before you can identify the golden nuggets and perform the 80/20 analysis, as with anything new, you will have needed to try different methods to see what works and what doesn’t work as part of the process in the first one or two months.
If not then you will need to try a range of activities before you have anything to separate.
Good things come in pairs. The power of the to-do list as well as the much neglected and even more powerful DO NOT Do list.
With your goal in mind, what 20% produce 80% of the desired results.
A. Write down everything you’ve been doing.
B. Go through each one of them to determine how effective each one have been.
C. Identify the 20% money making activities. These are the all-important few that you will concentrate on, that produce 80% of the results.
D. Separate this even further each day with only one big high-impact, goal-critical task to complete. If this is high impact, all-important it isn’t necessary to do other nonsense.
DO NOT Do List
A. Write down everything you’ve been doing that has been unproductive and time consuming, from email, meetings, customers, marketing, products, people etc.
B. Go through each one of them to determine how ineffective each one have been.
C. Identify the 20% unproductive, time sucking activities.
3. (P) Parkinson’s Law
A. Set short deadlines for the one big high-impact, goal-critical task to complete.
The best way to be productive is to actually work in highly focussed short sprints rather than long, drawn-out marathon sessions throughout the day.
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