Pareto + Parkinson = Productivity

January 6, 2011
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My favorite business book of all time, without a shadow of a doubt, is Tim Ferriss’ (@tferriss) “The 4-Hour Work-Week.”

I have read the book cover-to-cover so many times I’ve nearly destroyed it, as the photo at right will clearly attest.

I cannot begin to summarize all the amazing practical business advice that Ferriss dispenses in this former Wall Street Journal Bestseller, but I would like to share with you just one powerful piece of wisdom that he wrote about which combines two well-know productivity/effectiveness principles.

You can find this information in Chapter 5, which is entitled “The End of Time Management.” And the two principles to which I am referring are as follows:

  • Pareto’s Law: Suggests that 80% of the outputs flow from 20% of the causes.
  • Parkinson’s Law: Dictates that a task will swell in (perceived) importance and complexity in relation to the time allotted for its completion.

In the end, Ferriss brilliantly combines these two principles by writing the following:

There are two synergistic approaches for increasing productivity that are inversions of each other:

  1. Limit tasks to the important to shorten work time (80/20)
  2. Shorten work time to limit tasks to the important (Parkinson’s)

The best solution is to use both together: Identify the few critical tasks that contribute the most to income and schedule them with very short and clear deadlines.

There are hundreds of great pearls of wisdom in “The 4-Hour Work-Week,” but THIS is absolutely one of the best.

Combine the Laws of Pareto and Parkinson and watch your productivity and effectiveness skyrocket…

Michael McClure is the President & CEO of Professional One Franchising, LLC and Professional One Real Estate. Michael is a CPA and a graduate of Michigan State University. He is also a nationally recognized speaker in real estate and is known for his leadership on the issues of professionalism and ethics in that industry. Michael attributes much of his success and his passion to the principles he learned from taking the Dale Carnegie course and reading Dale Carnegie’s books.

This post is brought to you by the good folks at Dale Carnegie Training of Central & Southern New Jersey. We would love to connect with you on Facebook and Twitter @CarnegieJersey.

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One Response to Pareto + Parkinson = Productivity

  1. […] I generally postpone these items until they transition onto the A list with the passage of time. I do this to leverage the Pareto and Parkinson principles I discussed in one of my earlier blog posts. […]

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