The 80/20 rule of productivity

Productivity has a lot to do with how we prioritize our work. So how do we prioritize our work in order to increase our productivity?

The 80/20 rule is a principle developed by Vilfredo Pareto. The rule is also sometimes referred to as the Pareto Principle.It basically describes the relationship between input and outputs and addresses the misconception that you have to put in a lot of input to generate a greater output.

The 80/20 Principle asserts that a minority of causes, inputs or effort usually lead to a majority of the results, outputs or rewards. Taken literally, this means that, for example, 80 per cent of what you achieve in your job comes from 20 per cent of the time spent –Richard Koch

I’m not sure when was the first time I got hold of this rule but I’m guessing it was from book by Steve Chandler or maybe John Maxwell. Anyway, if your are interested with the rule and wish to know more, I would suggest reading The 80/20 Principle by Richard Koch.

Habits of original thinkers

Probably the most original person today I know of is Steve Jobs. But come to think of it his ideas are not all new or innovative. They are ideas that has been created before and used by others least popularly. Jobs is the kind of guy who waits and when the moment is right he is able to popularize a previous innovation into something more relevant and trendy.

Author Adam Grant talks about originality in this Ted-Talk.

“If you want to be more original, you need to generate more ideas”

Who are the originals?

  • They are non-conformist
  • People who have new ideas and takes action to champion them
  • They stand-up and speak-up
  • People you want to bet on

Recognizing an original person:

  • They are surprisingly slow in getting-off (whatever idea or plan). A lot of successful people such as Leonardo Da Vinci are procrastinators. Basically they are quick to start but slow to finish.
  • They are full of doubt and fear. The only difference is that they managed these doubt and fear differently. Idea-doubt and self-doubt is two different things. Self-doubt is negative, but idea-doubt puts you in a constant mode of improving your craft.
  • They have lots and lots of bad ideas. It it from these bad ideas that they found their jewel.

 

Don’t follow your passion

Now this is interesting. Its unlike anything the society¬† have been telling us. But don’t be quick to judge though, watch the video till the end and you’ll get Mike Rowe’s point when he says don’t follow your passion.

To sum up Mike’s point, he says don’t follow your passion, keep it with you (by all means) but focus on or follow the opportunity instead.¬†Because being passionate on something doesn’t necessarily translate into you having the skill or ability to do what you like. Heck, you might not be good at it at all. This is what he refers to as the dirty truth.

Of course one would argue, skills and talents takes time to develop. I agree, and if we go by the 10,000 hours rule of deliberate practice principle by Malcolm Gladwell, all of us can be good at things we are passionate about. It’s worth pursuing.

But let’s ponder on Mike’s view. If everyone is passionate on the same big thing, take singing for example, the fact is such industry is condensed with a lot of people aspiring to be a singers, hence narrowing one’s opportunity to actually shine.

So Mike’s idea is simple, why not keep the passion for singing, but look elsewhere into places where the mass don’t usually go and try to do just that, and become good at that. From a career point of view, this is much more viable and increases your chance of becoming successful. You can still pursue that passion for singing along the way.

I personally see this as a win-win situation, both for our heart and soul which wants to do what it wants to do and for a peace of mind, where we are realistic with life and live comfortably by making a decent living doing things that not many are not passionate about.

So keep your passion and follow the opportunity instead!