Most people in the world operate with a 1 to 1 approach to life. One hour work equals one-hour pay. Productivity is limited by the number of hours in a week. Productivity isn’t always focused and without a life plan priorities are often missed.
Successful entrepreneurs are not like most people. Never content to settle for a 1 to 1 relationship between efforts and results they achieve far higher levels of productivity. We all know someone whose productivity is outstanding.
The problem is if you’re already working as hard as you can, you’ve hit a limit on what you can produce. So how do they do it? How can you learn to increase your productivity?
Jesus provides the answer. In his first and most famous teaching metaphor, the Parable Of The Sower (Mathew 13:1-23) Jesus describes four different scenarios in which an investment, in this case seed, produced significantly different levels of productivity.
- The Seed On The Path. The farmer unintentionally drops some. Birds eat it.
- The Seed On The Rocky Soil. The plant sprouts but dies due to shallow roots.
- The Seed Among Thorns. Weeds rise up and choke the crop producing loss.
- The Seed On Good Soil resulted in yields of 30, 60 even 100-fold increase.
This is the principle that the Bible calls “stewardship”. Productivity is about stewardship. We’ve all been given certain passions, talents, abilities and resources. We’re responsible to improve, increase, leverage and multiply each of these. The question is how do we focus on increasing our productivity in each area of our life plan?
A resource that applies the Parable Of The Sower changed my life. It helped me focus on the priorities that matter most. It’s by Richard Koch and is called The 80/20 Principle. The simple idea is 80 percent of your results flow from just 20 percent of your efforts. Conversely, 80% of your effort produces just 20% of your results!
Typically, causes, inputs, or effort divide into two categories:
(1) the majority, that have little impact, and
(2) a small minority, that have a major, dominant impact.
Understanding this simple idea is one of the keys to success. Time management is not about organizing your daily tasks. It’s about organizing your essential tasks and dumping the rest. To put it bluntly 80% of the work you do is a waste of time, while 20% of your time is spent doing things of the utmost importance. Everyone can achieve increased productivity by listening to or reading The 80/20 Principle.
The trick is to figure out what your 20% is that adds the most value to your work. Make that the majority of your day. Strengths Finder 2.0 can help. Then use those strengths to add the most value to your work. Delegate, hire, outsource / subcontract, or renegotiate as much as possible. If you don’t understand this principle you risk your time and ultimately your life.
Here’s a 5 minute authors insight click here.
To watch Tim Ferris of The 4-Hour Work Week explain his application of the principle click here.
The 80/ 20 Principle applies to much more than your work. Your decisions on faith, school, career, spouse, children, friends, finances, nutrition and exercise are cumulative. Success in two crucial areas – professional and family is essential. The central idea remains the same; a few things matter a lot, and most things matter very little. If you want to improve your effectiveness at anything, focus only on what matters most.
Imagine using this resource to learn how to go from reactive to proactive and achieve increased productivity accomplishing those priorities that matter most to you. Use this resource to increase your productivity and achieve more while working less.
Attitude What’s your attitude towards productivity?
Action Order The 80 / 20 Principle to become more productive.
Question What is most important in each of the key areas of your life?