— 5 min read

"I'm sooo busy. I have so much stuff to do. I need to work until 10PM, again…"

If this is your usual response when people ask how your life is going, your doing it wrong. It can even sound like a good thing: you have a lot of work; people rely on you; you feel needed. But how much impactful work are you actually accomplishing?

Being busy usually means that you have a growing list of tasks that you finish one by one while new tasks pile up. There is usually an inkling hope that at some point all your tasks will get completed. They will not… And honestly, your job isn't dependant on if you make it through your task list, especially if you are a manager.

Instead of being "sooo busy" all the time, take a step back and evaluate your tasks. Figure out what is important and what is not. Find the tasks that you really need to accomplish and give them 110 percent. This is called being productive and it is a lot better for both you, your team, and your company.

Choosing the right tasks with Pareto Principle.

"But wait!", I hear you say: "All my tasks are vital. I HAVE to do them all".

No they are not and no you don't. There are a few theories out there about this, one is called the Pareto Principle, or the 80/20 rule, which states that 80% of your total impact comes from 20% of the work.

The Pareto Analysis is a specific technique used during decision making, which pushes you to focus on the smallest number of tasks with the largest overall effect. The idea of the technique is to do the most important 20 percent of tasks, which should result in 80 percent of your most important goals and objectives being accomplished. If you focus on this top 20 percent of activities, you and the entire office is likely to prosper.

I've been working as a marketing manager for over 5 years and this principle has never failed me. Finding that 20 percent of the most vital tasks is the key to living a normal life while still achieving everything you need to do. It is the key to being productive, not busy. The key to being successful, not overworked. The key to being over achiever and still having a work-life balance. Pretty great, right?

Focus on important weekly tasks.

It all comes down to planning. For my weekly tasks I use the Plans, Progress, Problems (PPP) methodology. With PPP, I set 5 – 6 tasks for myself each week and when these get done, I move them into Progress.

The idea of PPP is to limit the amount of tasks, you set for yourself. Five is the optimal number of plans for most people (once again, use the Pareto Principle). That way, I know that all the tasks I'm working on help me be productive, not busy.

Being able to do identify your key tasks throughout the work week is not only important for the efficiency of your team, but for time management throughout the entire business.

Implementing the 80/20 rule with OKRs.

This also helps you with quarterly goals. I sit down before every quarter and decide on the best goals for my team using the Objectives and Key Results (OKR) methodology. Then, at the beginning of every week I determine what are the most critical tasks on my to-do list that will us move towards these goals.

With OKR, you set quarterly and yearly inspirational Objectives. Then you track and measure progress towards them with Key Results. As you complete your Key Results, you move your objectives forward.

You can use both OKRs and PPP in Weekdone. An app made to help you and your team be productive and focus on important, meaningful work. Try Weekdone now with your team, and see how much better your life will be.