It was Novalis, a German poet and novelist who wrote that “Activity is the only reality.” Anthony Robbins, an American author and entrepreneur has also written that “The path to success is to take massive, determined action.” So in effect, action is the true proof of desire.

It is very obvious that each of us is daily confronted with a seeming endless stream of responsibilities, many actions we must take to fulfil our purpose, or accomplish our business, financial, career, professional, marital, and other goals. On the other hand, time is limited, fixed in its supply of just 24 hours a day.

But do you know what? It is not all our actions that produce the desired results. The 80/20 Rule applies to our actions. This principle, also called the Law of the Vital Few states that 20 percent of our efforts produce 80 percent of our results. In any family, church, or organization, 20 percent of the people produce 80 percent of the results. As applied to our actions, only 20 percent of our vital activities produce 80 percent of our results. Wow! That means that out of every 10 actions we take, only about 2 of them produce most of the results we want.

Interestingly therefore, the preponderance of our activities and the limited time we have daily, imposes on us the logic of knowing how to accomplish much in a lot less time, which is one of the secrets of most successful people on earth.

This skill is important otherwise we fall into the temptation of busying ourselves with most of the least important, 80 percent of activities that produce about 10 to 20 percent of our results, on a daily basis. As a matter of fact, Brian Tracy opines that “the amount of time required to complete an important job is often the same as the time required to do an unimportant job.”

If you daily do much work or accomplish many goals in a lot less time, you’re going to be happier, richer, healthier, stronger, and more fulfilled.

How To Get Much More Results In A Lot Less Time

v  Always indentify and do first the vital few of your actions: The Pareto or Vital Few principle differentiates between the 20 percent important or vital few activities that produce 80 percent of the results and the 80 percent trivial many activities that cause 20 percent of the benefits. So locate the 20 percent of the products and services that account for 80 percent of customer complaints, for instance, and fix those problems. Always primarily tackle 20 percent of the causes that generate 80 percent of your problems.

v  Ask for vital input from your clients: Apart from your company’s business statistics, one other basic way you can determine the vital few is to ask your clients questions on how you can better serve them. Jon Miller says that the customer rules 80% of our success. He adds that, in order to effectively enlist your customers’ help, you should identify the top customers, top products and then the reasons they choose you or your firm.

v  Ask yourself which activities are contributing to your vital few: For example, which 20 percent of the products and services produce 80 percent of the company’s profit? Which 20 percent of the sales produce 80 percent of the company’s revenues? Which 20 percent of activities generate 80 percent of customer satisfaction? Concentrate on these activities.

v  Create systems: Your system comprises the processes for getting things done. As a manager or chief executive, delegate other activities (the 80 percent or trivial many) to the people with the appropriate capacity and right skills and focus on the vital few (20 percent activities) that will produce 80 percent of the impact. You can also outsource to leverage on your strengths and core competence.

v  Do one thing at a time: There is enough research evidence that multitasking (doing different things at the same time) makes us less efficient. Our brains can’t multitask. As a matter of fact, multitasking splits the brain, puts it under pressure to switch between activities. So endeavour to complete one important task before to take on another. However, there is an exception. For instance, if you’re doing a physical task you have done very often, you can do it and still perform a mental task. You see a guitarist playing guitar and singing at the same time.

v  Take action fast and often: Brendan Francis says that “Inspirations never go in for long engagements; they demand immediate marriage to action.” If we delay actions, we tend to procrastinate. Neuroplasticity is the brain’s capacity to change and adapt. When we constantly take actions, our brain becomes stronger and better at doing those things; if we don’t act, it atrophies.

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