Procrastination and the Pareto Principle

time_lostHere’s something to consider for you procrastinators out there. Most of us believe in some form of the Pareto Principle as it applies to our work: that 80% of the effort is achieved in the 20% of the time.  I know in my own experience, it’s not uncommon for me to produce 80% of a project or report or analysis in what ultimately winds up being 20% of the time.  The problem is knocking out that final 20% as quickly as possible.

Here’s a tip.

Whatever you are doing, think of it as having completion cycles – ‘Pareto cycles,’ if you will.  Crank one out, and you are 80% there.  Set it down.  Pick it up again.  And crank out another cycle.  Again, 80% of the balance done in 20% of the time.

You can see where this is going.

After 2 cycles, you have effectively completed 96% of the original work (0.80 + 0.8 x 0.2) in only 40% of the time.  Sounds good, huh?  Admittedly, it’s really just playing mind games with yourself, but think about how much more productive – and how many more cycles you can achieve – if you are only slightly effective in fooling yourself a bit in this way.

Give it a try and let me know how it works.