Productivity and marketing experts abide by the 80–20 Rule. Formally known as the Pareto Principle, the notion is that 80 percent of your results come from only 20 percent of your efforts. The rule has been applied for 100 years as a guide to efficiency.
Top marketers such as Rebekah Radice, Christina Nicholson, Bershan Shaw, Ben Parr and Chelsea Krost are huge fans of 80–20, or as they like to say, “Work smarter, not harder.” The entrepreneurs gathered in Krost’s #MillennialTalk Twitter chat to say how they succeed at business without trying as hard.
Mindset is important, particularly being able to reset it when needed.
“Stop. Take a break. Step away from the screen. That’s it,” said Parr, co-founder and chief marketing officer of Octane AI. “Pull up a meditation for 10 minutes. Go on a hike. Do a seven-minute workout. I just stop the moment I need a reset.
“Nothing is more important than a good night’s sleep to one’s productivity,” he said. “Go to bed early. Try to remove phones. I have this heavy eye mask I wear and a relaxing sound routine that helps me a ton.”
As the 80–20 Rule implies, hard work is not necessarily right work.
“You could work very hard, but still be doing the wrong things,” said Nicholson, a TV host, podcaster, TEDx speaker and former reporter and anchor. “That’s why it’s vital to work smart. It’s knowing what to do, and that takes a money and time investment. If it were easy, everyone would do it.
“Working smart is all about how you set your goals to ensure you implement the tasks to do so you achieve them,” she said, citing her go-to guide, The SMART Goal Setting Worksheet.
With never enough hours in the day, there are assorted ways to optimize calendars to make the most of valuable time.
“The method I like to use is to make a schedule and stick to it,” said Shaw, a speaker, strategist, transformational coach, TV personality and business coach. “Do check-ins with yourself and hold yourself accountable.
“The system to use to optimize your calendar and make the most of your time is to get help,” she said. “We try to do it all ourselves. Stop it. Ask for help. Find someone. If you can’t make a schedule and organize yourself to keep things together, breathe.”
Shaw suggests these steps to optimize your calendar:
- Make a schedule on your phone or notebook.
- Bullet-point it.
- Don’t procrastinate.
- Do the work, and make it happen.
- Remember, you can do it.
Radice, a marketing performance strategist, is a firm believer in David Allen’s Getting Things Done method.
“The idea is simple,” she said. “Get tasks out of your head and into a working system. You free up your mind to focus on taking action instead of recalling them.”
These are her five steps to getting things done:
- Capture and collect what has your attention.
- Clarify and process what it means.
- Organize and put it where it belongs.
- Reflect and review frequently.
- Engage and do.
“Time blocking and managing your calendar are critical to getting everything done without losing your mind,” Radice said. “Such an important reminder: Always make self-care a top priority.”
Krost, a millennial expert, global speaker and marketing and branding strategist, prides herself on discipline.
“There is nothing that helps me get more done in the day and work more productively than block scheduling my calendar and sticking to it,” she said. “Evaluate what your weekly ‘fixed’ versus ‘variable’ tasks are for your business.”
Allot specific times
Then Krost bookends her day with emails.
“I carve out a morning block and evening block for emails,” she said “Then I can focus on my most important work in the middle of the day.
“Multi-tasking is not always the most effective,” Krost said. “I always carve out a portion of my day that I call my Do Not Disturb time where I lock in and tackle my most important tasks and client work.”
She has a complete video on how she organizes her block schedule.
The all-star entrepreneurs continued their discussion, including how not to get bogged down by email, and great moves they made early in their careers that brought them success today.