In the business world, the 80/20 rule is pretty well known. You may also know it as Pareto's principle, which is the idea that 80 percent of what you do is of very low value. And 20 percent of what you do is the percentage that really makes a difference in your business growth trajectory. I would go even a step further and say that in reality, it's more like 20 percent of that 20 percent that really makes a difference, but as a business owner, you can't stop there.

Value Your Time

Everything you do throughout the day has value. You have D-level tasks that don't make any difference in your bottom line and are the lowest value items on your list. Then you have C-level, which are good tasks but still not the best use of your time, and then you have A and B which make the biggest difference on your bottom line. Figuring out where all your tasks fall on the A, B, C and D scale is the first step to becoming more productive and growing your business. You should immediately take the D-level items off your plate and delegate them to someone on your team. Then you should try to delegate your C and B-level tasks. And that is where the majority of business leaders usually stop with this exercise. They focus on the A and some B-level tasks and think that their job is done.

6 Months From Now

But doing the exercise once isn't a good plan. Because over time you not only start to see more C and D levels creep back into your daily to-do list, but as you grow as a leader, more and more things should move down the list. An item that was once a B-level task, might become a solid C or D a year down the road. As you focus more on the things that matter most, your priorities and the way you handle your time should also change. So, for the best benefit you want to look at your task list every few months, and prioritize accordingly.

The One Exception

There is one exception to this rule. There are some things that you just love to do, and it's okay to keep them on your list. But call it what it is--fun. I enjoy working with our graphic designer when it comes to large-scale design projects for my brand. Could I outsource it to someone else, absolutely. But I enjoy it. So I make time for it--and then spend the rest of my time on A-level tasks. It's ok to do things that you love, after all, it's what keeps you coming back day after day. And hopefully, over time, a lot of your A-level tasks are things that you enjoy. So it's good to find a balance.

The 80/20 rule by itself isn't enough to get you and your business where you want them to be. But if you are strategic and update your task list often, you will start to see real results over time. Good luck!