Sunday, August 28, 2016

Before You File For Divorce From Your Job, Try Using The 80-20 Rule.

Would it surprise you to hear that 2.9 million people in the US “divorced” their jobs in June of 2016? It surprised me, but maybe it shouldn’t have. People spend a considerable amount of time at work. It’s quality time too—time when we’re alert and engaged. Unfortunately, when our workday is done, we’re often too tired to enjoy what’s left of the day. And, if we aren’t happy with the way our job is progressing, all those quality hours start evolving into one long painful rerun of the movie Groundhog Day where every day starts and ends in the exact same place.
It’s understandable why someone might decide it’s time to quit their job: low pay, unreasonable expectations, inflexibility with scheduling, lack of support or teamwork, etc. I get it. But quitting a job comes with its own bucket of stresses. There will still be bills to pay, and we all have to eat. Yes, quitting is always an option—especially if it’s time for a career change—but before you decide to “divorce” your employer, use the 80/20 rule to establish some clarity.
Make a list of all the projects you’re working on. Once you’re done, take the list and go somewhere where you won’t be interrupted while you’re working on it.  
If you look carefully at your list, you’re going to see projects that are actually other people’s projects. Put a line through them. Next, look for projects that are going to move you ahead. Put a star next to them. Now here’s the trick: Cut your starred list by 80%. I know exactly what you’re thinking, “Oh crap. I can't do that." Yes, you can.
The data being collected about multitasking is piling up—it doesn’t work. Having a planner that’s as busy as downtown Chicago in rush hour traffic doesn’t mean you’re better at your job. It probably means you’re saying yes to everybody else’s priorities, and not leaving yourself enough time to focus on what you need to get done so you can:
  • Enjoy your work
  • Excel at your job by doing what you do best
Once you’ve identified your 20%, schedule hard completion dates for each item, commit to those dates!
Remember that neither your boss nor your coworkers will know you’ve taken this step. That means being prepared for their interruptions. Politely ask coworkers if you can get back to them later. If your boss wants to add another project to your pile, skillfully ask him or her how it ranks in priority compared to the other work you have to do.
Take the time to, as Steven Covey puts it, “Sharpen the saw.” Your work may be just one aspect of your life, but it’s a pretty big aspect, so it’s important to schedule time to revisit your project list every so often to make sure it’s on track with both your work and your personal goals.
No one should have to “divorce” their job because some parts of it aren’t working at the moment. If you enjoy the job, and you don’t really want to quit, identify your 20% and put your valuable time, energy, and focus into those priorities. If your employer doesn’t respect your methodology, you can quit with a clear conscience.
On the other hand, using the 80/20 rule to set yourself up for success could put you in a position where you once again enjoy the sound of your alarm clock signaling the start of a new day!

Alan Luoma: I am a Sales Coach with extensive experience in industrial sales, sales management, new

product development, sales and product training. I work with a great national sustainable packaging company and their exceptional distributors to increase sales. My success has been and is in utilizing the Pareto 80/20 principal in business and life. I have become an expert in seeking out and eliminating behaviors that prevent business people from being successful. I am a member of The National Speakers Association and New England Speakers Association. You can view my profile on LinkedIn, or contact me at 

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