Today I want to explore a quick tool called an 80/20 analysis that can help you achieve better results in a shorter period of time.
The 80/20 analysis is based on the Pareto Principle. This principle was named for Vilfredo Pareto, who found in the late 1800s that 80% of land in Italy was owned by 20% of Italians in the same way that 80% of the peas produced in his garden came from 20% of the peapods. This finding was one of many analyzing inequality and examining how the few end up with so much in our economies.
From this and similar findings of the tilting of economic benefits, Pareto decided that democracy was an illusion and a ruling class would always emerge from the 20%.
In modern parlance, this extreme conclusion has been ignored and the Pareto Principle has become more of a rule of thumb applied to a wide range of areas.
While my interest in politics and economics would push me to examine the implications for modern income inequality and the policy proposals to address it, this blog is about providing tools and information that is helpful to individuals.
So instead, we’ll be looking at the modern version.
(Don’t worry. I’ve found other excuses to talk about bigger issues of politics and economics.)
Continue reading “Getting Better Results in Less Time”
When I started making a concerted effort to be more productive, I knew I had to make better use of my time.
One of the early steps in this process was adding podcasts and audio books to my day. Previously, while walking to the subway or around the neighborhood, I would have just let my mind wander. I replaced this lost time with extra learning.
The extra knowledge helped. I felt more productive on my walks. But I started feeling more overwhelmed with the work I had on my plate the rest of the time. It felt like I was actually getting less done.
According to the research, I probably was.
I had lost the benefits of letting my mind wander.
Continue reading “The Productivity Benefits of Letting Your Mind Wander”
One question that meditation has taught me to ask is: Where is the resistance?
In meditating, there is always something that is trying to grab my attention. Often, all I need to do to get rid of it is figure out what it is, acknowledge it, and label it.
“Okay, my mind wants to focus on that upcoming meeting. That’s good to know.”
I can label it, go back to meditation, and then address that issue when I’m done with my meditation. If the meeting is weighing on me, then maybe I need to spend some more time preparing. I’ve identified the problem, and I can then take steps to ease my anxiety.
Lately, I’ve been trying to ask the same question of my productivity.
Continue reading “Conquering Procrastination”
I read a lot of self-improvement books. Most of them are garbage.
Sure, they may have useful tips and tricks, but usually they contain about enough useful information to fill a blog post. This is then surrounded by fluff, anecdotes, and flowery language to meet the word count for a book.
This is what I expected when I picked up Chris Bailey’s The Productivity Project. I anticipated some helpful tips, but mostly fluff.
That is not what I got.
This book is one of the rare finds that actually has a lot of useful information. Continue reading “The Three Fuels of Productivity”
This week we’re looking at simple ways to increase your productivity. These are tips that are easy to overlook, but that should not be underestimated.
On Tuesday we explored the power of writing everything down.
Today, we’re going even simpler. Drink more water.
Continue reading “Drink More Water for a More Productive Day”
I spend a good deal of time around here talking about productivity. This is because I spend a good deal of my time elsewhere trying to figure out how to optimize my productivity.
Optimizing productivity is one way to help optimize your life. If you can be more productive during your working hours, you can make more money and save more time that you can spend on other endeavors or with your family and friends.
The key to all of my productivity hacks and tricks all centers on one cornerstone:
Write. Everything. Down.
This may seem overly simplistic or obvious, but don’t underestimate it! Continue reading “The One Key to Optimizing Your Productivity”
On leaving high school, I made an interesting observation: My grades were higher when my schedule was busier.
It was easy to make the distinction between busy semesters and less busy semesters. You may have guessed based on reading around here for a bit that I’m a nerd. Befitting that, I was in the marching band in high school.
A marching band that was regularly the number one band in New England.
For those of you who have not been in a competitive marching band, it is very time consuming.
We practiced for three hours after school two days a week and practiced all day on Saturday.
Once competition season started, we would bus out to competitions on Saturday and Sunday each week.
That’s a lot of hours.
Continue reading “Why We Are More Productive When Our Schedules Are Full”
Last week I attended an event hosted by the news organization Vox.
The event was a two-day nerd-fest of talking about policy called Vox Conversations. The goal was to get a bunch of policymakers, organization leaders, and nerdy wonks together to talk about policy in the Trump era. Continue reading “Make Space to Be Wrong”
It has become a sign of success in the modern world to say that you’re busy.
Being busy signifies that you are a hard worker. You have plenty of opportunities. You are important. And everyone wants to be important!
So you will often hear “I don’t have time.”
“I’d love to have a weekend away with my family, but I don’t have time.”
“I’d love to take up skiing, but I just don’t have the time.”
“I wish I could read as much as you do, but I’m always so busy that I don’t have time.”
You do have the time, though. We all do. We’re just choosing not to use it on that particular activity. Continue reading “You Do Have Time”
Have you ever wondered why a project that you have two weeks to complete ends up taking the whole two weeks, when you can finish a similar project with a shorter deadline in 48 hours?
Remember when you had a whole semester to complete a paper for class? We would always plan to get it done early so that we weren’t writing our paper while also taking final exams. And yet, how many of us ended up still writing the night before the paper was due?
Continue reading “Do More in Less Time”