The 80/20 rule tells us that 20% of our efforts result in 80% of our best work. Similarly 80% of what we do each day only nets us about 20% of your total work value. Therefore, in order to be more productive we must figure out what that 20% is that yields us our 80% return. That’s not a small task.
If we could only figure out how to spend 100% of our time doing that 20% of our job that gives us the most value, we’d all be set. Unfortunately, things don’t work that way. The other 80% still needs to be done. At least somebody has to do it. Good managers delegate as much of that 80% they can, but even still, there is no way to focus 100% of our time working on the 20% of our most valuable work. You just cant.
So what’s the solution? Make that 20% of your work even more productive. If you’re going to improve anything, start in that 20% zone. Improve processes, improve communications, improve functions.
A couple of weeks back my mouse started breaking. It was one of those slow and gradual processes that by the time you’ve notice something is really wrong you have already learned to adapt to it. It’s not that my mouse didn’t work or was in any sense “broken”, I just had to put a bit more than the usual effort into each click. I either had to hold the button longer or push it down harder (I don’t know which as I was often doing both) in order to get the click to register. Too many times I had to click multiple times just to get the click-result I wanted.
I lived with this for about two weeks before I finally got fed up and got a new mouse. It took me a while just out of sheer laziness. I knew it would take time for me first to figure out that it was the mouse and not the computer (OK, I’m not the brightest bulb sometimes). I first had to try another mouse just to be sure. I have several used mice in the cabinet less than 10 feet away, but oh, the time!!! Finally, I broke down, grabbed a mouse, tested it, found out it worked. On my way home that day I stopped by Office Depot bought a new one. That’s all it took and all-in-all that probably took less time than the time I wasted throughout the day repeatedly clicking the darn button.
The moral of that story is that it’s usually the small things that improve productivity the most. You’d be surprised how much time was actually wasted trying clicking and re-clicking the mouse button. I only realized this after I got a new mouse that worked and found my productivity increase substantially. Whatever slows you down, anything that prevents you from being as productive as possible: Find it, fix it, and get more done!