Do you find that your working days get longer and you end up working weekends and evenings just to keep up?

Try this simple experiment.  Take a few stones and several handfuls of gravel and sand.  Now put them into a bucket.  What happens if you simply put them in the bucket in a random fashion, e.g. sand followed by gravel and then the stones?  The sand fills up a third of the bucket, the gravel the next third and not all the stones fit in!  What if you placed the stones in first, followed by the gravel and then the sand?  The gravel and sand fill in the gaps around the stones and hey presto you have managed to fit everything into the bucket.

This simple experiment demonstrates the power of priority management.  Do the important (big) priorities first and the smaller ones can be fitted in around them during the working day or week.  Do it the other way round and you will find yourself  constantly working extra hours just to catch up on the “important stuff”.

So how should you decide on what your important priorities are?  Firstly think about the Pareto rule and how you can apply it to what you do.  Pareto was an Italian economist who identified that 80% of the wealth in Italy was produced and owned by 20% of the population.  This 80:20 rule applies to many other situations for example, 80% of profits often come from just 20% of a company’s products or services, 80% of the worlds pollution is caused by 20% of the world’s population.  Using Pareto’s rule you can identify what your important priorities are and where you should focus, in other words what 20% of your priorities/activities will give you 80% of the results you want?