Haven’t achieved much in 2017? Don’t worry, your time is now!
The Pareto Principle
Have you heard of the 80/20 rule? Also known as the Pareto Principle, it basically says that 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. 80% of peas are found in 20% of pods. 80% of land is owned by 20% of the population. This principle has been applied to maths, science, sports, economics, and of course business, since it was first discovered back in 1896.
In business circles, this principle has been written about many times: 80% of your results come from 20% of your actions. Heard it all before…?
Don’t worry, I’m not about to rehash a thousand other business management articles. Just Google them if you haven’t read them. You’ll get the same messages: spend all day working away and what do you achieve? Your major results come from 1/5th of your days efforts. The rest of time it turns out is not all that productive. Narrow downed focus on the activities that give you the biggest results for the minimum effort. Yada yada.
A New Angle
But there’s an angle on this that I haven’t seen talked about anywhere; how Pareto overlaps with natural cycles. You see, I was just contemplating how fast the end of the year is approaching, and how many goals I still have not ticked off. Then I was having a session with one of my coaching clients…same issue…the year had not been as productive as she would have liked. And that’s when it struck me….This is the best time of the year to hit 80% of your years goals.
Why? Well, it’s fast approaching the end of the year, right. We are down to the last 20% of 2017. And I believe this is the end of the year with the maximum potential momentum. This is the season for the 80% result. Why? Because, you think about it, we start the year full of good intentions, but we soon drift into the 80% that achieves only 20%. We go to meetings. We tidy our emails. We colour code our inbox. We spend too much time on social media or realestate.com. We subscribe to email lists, then unsubscribe a week later. We tidy our pens and print out photos of our pets.
Okay, I concede, this may be a bit exaggerated – somewhat of a caricature, but don’t pretend there’s not some truth in there!! The middle of the year just doesn’t tend to be as productive.
But at the tail end of the year, the receding calendar propels us into action. We naturally uncover our latent ability to laser focus. Yep, as the year comes to a screeching halt, we automatically begin to reflect on what we have and have not achieved. We remember we started the year with some grand goals, a voluminous vision; we were filled with certainty about all the things we were going to get done – but now we think about it, we can’t actually remember when we last looked at those goals…back in early March maybe?
Oh yes, we had the best of intentions. Sure, we had all our tasks entered into Todoist back in February…but….well, we stopped checking them off in May.
“Shit! Where has the year gone!”, we mutter to ourselves.
Sure enough, it’s almost over! And as the year comes rushing to it’s inevitable conclusion, we start to project ourselves forward into the future. What will next year hold for us? Bigger and better? (Of course!) The future is full of potential.
There’s no denying, the turning of the new year is a pivotal point in our inner landscape. But mostly we focus on the other side. The New Years Resolutions. The ridding of this years naughty habits. Oh yes, we will start afresh.
No, don’t give up on 2017 yet, there’s so much you can still achieve before the year grinds to a halt.
Nature is Supporting You To Achieve
Yes, the things we naturally begin reflecting on at this time of year are powerful – we’re focused on goals, direction, vision, achievements, successes, losses, learning, big decisions and turning points throughout the year. It’s like we suddenly develop the ability to step back from it all, see the mess, see the wins and grasp that bigger picture again. We zoom out the map and can see where we have been and where we are heading.
Having these kind of thoughts at this time of year is, I reckon, genetically imprinted into our DNA or something.
Like in Australia, Christmas is the time for stone fruit. They just go together. October in Brisbane is when the Jacaranda’s bloom and university students go into panic.
Whatever part of the world you are in there will be something distinct that marks this season. It’s the same in our minds, and it’s the same with our goals. We are seasonally supported to grow goals and manifest missions and outline objectives. So why not go with the flow?
Nature is supporting you. This is the season to be reflective and to cram in that 20% that creates the 80% – because we just have to bloody achieve something before its all over. Then we can feel like our holidays are well deserved. We can collapse guilt free knowing that we achieved something massive in the dying minutes.
Time To Get Out Your Goals
Look, I bet if you dig deep into your filing cabinet or scour your dropbox folders, you will find that lost and buried file – the Vision Board, the Mission Statement, the Goal Setting Spreadsheet that you did last year around this time. You can pull it out. You will no doubt think: “Fuck what have I been doing? How have I wasted so much time? I haven’t done half the stuff I though I would!” But don’t get stuck there…
There’s still time. You can try to knock some of this over now. You might be surprised at just how much you get done. The force is with you! It’s not too late to salvage something from the arse end of this year. Yes, there is, most definately, still time for a win.
So, smooth out that goal statement with the side of your hand, reach into your bottom draw and pull out your coloured pens and get scribbling and brainstorming. Your DNA is on your side, now more than at any time in the past 10 months.
You’ll find you are overcome with an inner momentum. A feeling of both urgency and calm. You are focused. Zen like. You’re in the zone and it feels good.
Then you start to fantasise about how much you will get done, because next year you will be this productive every day… Ok, come back to reality.
How about we just get something done for TODAY!
This is the perfect time of year to knock out your 80% with 20% of the effort. Your stars are aligned. You’ll be in the zone. You have the support of the Gods, Mother nature and the powers that be.
Here’s to the end of the year and to getting shit done easily & effortlessly,
Want Results in your life?
Copyright 2018 Michelle McClintock. All rights reserved.