Have you ever had something really important to do and you said to yourself, “I’m going to work on X all day?”  Or, you have an important project at work or school, and you decide you’re going in early and staying late to get it finished?  I know I have said and done this many times.  There is a universal rule termed the 80/20 rule which applies to these types of scenarios.  In our situation the rule applies like this, 80% of what we accomplish is done with 20% of our time.  Think about it. While at work, do you get most of your work done first thing in the morning or late in the day?  What are we doing with the rest of our time?  Most likely we are distracted or are simply not focused.

One way to take advantage of this principle is by realizing that setting aside more time for work, school, and projects doesn’t mean more will get accomplished.  While it can seem very noble and disciplined to say “I’m going to work on this all weekend until I finish,” the result is that you will use up the entire weekend, when you really only need to use about 20% of it.

Devoting more time to something doesn’t always get you better results. Keep this in mind the next time you are planning your day, week, month, or whatever. Try applying the 80/20 rule and see if you get different results. More on this “Goat Approved” practice can be found on Wikipedia.