Aisha (radiyallahu anha) narrarated;
“The Messenger of Allâh [pbuh], whenever he is given the opportunity to choose between two affairs, he always chooses the easiest and the most convenient. But if he is certain that it is sinful, he will be as far as he could from it.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari 1/503]
Do you always go about doing a task efficiently and effectively? The 80-20 Rule has helped me tremendously in the personal effectiveness area. Also known as the Pareto Principle, the 80-20 rule states that 20% of a task’s effort accounts for 80% of the value of that task. This also means that 80% of a task only yields 20% of the value of that task. I apply the 80-20 Rule at home, the masjid, the university, and especially at work. Following the Sunnah on personal effectiveness yields great benefits. Simply put, The 80-20 Rule requires that you;
1. Do It Now!
2. Do what matters the most first.
3. Be efficient and effective.
4. Take the easiest and most convenient path to getting things done.
5. Work without interruption to get that 20% done.
Find out what parts of your life belong in the crucial 20%, and focus your efforts there. Be absolutely ruthless in refusing to spend time where it simply cannot give you optimal results. Invest your time where it has the potential to pay off big. The first thing is to list out what you have to get done for that day. Let me give you a few personal examples.
2. Household Chores
3. Family Time- helping w/ homework, teaching Islam, time with spouse, board games etc.
4. Grocery Shopping
5. Check personal email.
6. Update Blog
7. Check personal voice mail and return calls.
8. Work out if I didn’t get a chance to during the day.
9. Personal Reading and study
10. Watch TV, catch up on news etc.
There are ten tasks on this list. 20% of 10 = 2. So 2 tasks on this list is more important and will give me the greatest yield on my time and give me fulfillment as well. Just because I underlined two tasks, doesn’t mean that I don’t get anything else done. Most days I accomplish what I set out to do. If something doesn’t get done, it carries over to the next day until it gets done. These two tasks are just what I feel will give me the greatest benefit and sense of accomplishment at home.
At the Office:
1. Check bank balances for properties/entities.
2. Check email and schedule tasks.
3. Bank Reconciliations
4. Cash Flow Analysis
5. Generate Financial Reports and GLs
6. Monthly recurring entries.
7. Research issues from Accountants, AP/AR personnel.
10. Review GLs for errors, accruals, reclasses.
11. Reports to Accountant for tax preparation.
12. Schedules for Tenant Improvement Leasing Commissions
13. Insurance Schedules
So at the office I have underlined the three tasks (20%) out of 13 that will make the greatest difference in my day at work. I do not sit on or procrastinate with these tasks. These three tasks are higher priority for this day and will get me the most recognition and personal accomplishment for this day insha Allah (azza wa jal).
You will ALWAYS have too much to do and too little time. It is said that the average person has about 300 hours of projects to take care of right now. We have books to read, surahs to learn, Arabic studies, projects at work and home, along with everything else. The fact is that you will NEVER get caught up. However, I was able to get caught up because I stopped doing things. By making a list of ten things and then highlighting the top 20%, this will be worth more than the other 80%. So select your most important task right now and discipline yourself to complete that task right now. Stay on it until it’s done. If you start out doing small things first, then you will find as I have experienced that small things tend to multiply. You will then spend your entire day doing small things. If you prioritize the big things, these will double your productivity.