3 Life hacks that work June 29 2011

Put into effect these small changes can lead to tremendous results. Try and you will see first hand. Enjoy!

1. The 80/20 rule.

This is one of the best ways to make better use of your time. The 80/20 rule – also known as The Pareto Principle – basically says that 80 percent of your results will come from 20 percent of your activities. 80% of your profits come from 20% of your clients etc.

So a lot of what you do is probably not as useful or even necessary to do as you may think. Examining the time you spend on certain activities and the results they have will allow you to cut out many of the things that simply do not produce positive results.

If you do that you will have more time and energy to spend on things that really bring you value, happiness, fulfillment and so on.

2. Parkinson’s Law.

This law says that a task will expand in time and seeming complexity depending on the time you set aside for it. For instance, if you say to yourself that you’ll come up with a solution within a week then the problem will seem to grow more difficult and you’ll spend more and more time trying to come up with a solution. If you give yourself only a day, then the proposed task will seem less daunting and easier to accomplish.

So focus your time on finding solutions. Then just give yourself an hour (instead of the whole day) or the day (instead of the whole week) to solve the problem. This will force your mind to focus on solutions and action. I do this a lot when cleaning. I give myself 20 minutes to clean my entire house (instead of the full day I think it needs). Because I know I will only be cleaning for 20 minutes the task is now very manageable and easy. I almost always go over the 20 minute allotted time but I never seem to mind.

The result may not be exactly as perfect as if you had spent a week on the task, but as mentioned in the previous point, 80 percent of the value will come from 20 percent of the activities anyway. Or you may wind up with a better result because you haven’t overcomplicated or over polished things. This will help you to get things done faster, to improve your ability to focus and give you more free time where you can totally focus on what’s in front of you instead of having some looming task creating stress in the back of your mind.

3. Batching.

Boring or routine tasks can create a lot of procrastination and low-level anxiety. One good way to get these things done quickly is to batch them. This means that you do them all in row. You will be able to do them quicker because there is less “start-up time” compared to if you spread them out. And when you are batching you become fully engaged in the tasks and more focused.

My greatest success with batching has been with checking email. Instead of being distracted every 5 minutes when my computer chimes or my Blackberry goes off I now spend about 30 mintes a day (in one chunk) reading and responding to emails. Batching this alone has probably saved me 1-2 hours a day of time spent on emails.