Listen up Heathens!

I joke, I joke…Pareto’s Principle is the equivalent of business gospel, and I’ve been evangelized.

Sometime after my 35th year on this planet, I began to realize that if everything is a priority, then nothing is a priority. Oddly enough, that’s also the time I got married, started a family (in that order, thank you), bought my first house, took a new job…looks like I picked the wrong year to stop drinking.

Thus began a different philosophy in life and in business ~ there are very few things you can control, so why kill yourself trying? Pick the critical few, apply your best efforts accordingly, live a happier life. If only…

How many “Key” objectives do you have this year? Let’s say, for ease of percentages, that you have 10. Can you pick two? I’ll do you one better, can you pick ONE? That’s Pareto on a sugar-high…80/20 has been watered down over the years, almost commoditized. You want to get things done? Narrow your focus even more ~ try to have tunnel vision & go minimalist. Try 90/10, it’s what all the cool kids are doing.

Tim Ferris, the guru of the 4-Hour disciplines, has made this kind of “de-cluttering” into nothing short of a religion. It’s surprisingly difficult to identify your key priorities, as most of us have adopted the habit of multi-tasking to the point of negative returns. It actually takes practice. If you are anything like me, you’ve become a prolific juggler – sometimes because of circumstance, sometimes as a result of uncontrolled inspiration; we dreamers have a real hard time resisting another “great” idea.

The fact is, without a conscious effort to say “no,” to additional tasks, we have a corporate environment ripe for burnout. Companies run leaner, but they rarely carve out responsibility commensurate with headcount. Find your priorities, stick to your guns, and find your blinders. The other “work” will always be there, promise.

John “Whit” Whitaker is Founder of the HR Hardball™ ; read more, and celebrate my entire catalogue 🙂

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