Applying the 80/20 Principle through Delegation
I’ve never published a guest post before on this blog – I’m not entirely against them, but I generally believe those who follow my blog do so because they want to read what I write, not what someone else writes.
With that said, I’ll always make an exception if one of my favorite bloggers wants to write a guest post for me (especially if they’ve let me write a guest post for them before). This is a guest post by Maren Kate – if you’re not familiar with her, you need to become familiar with her, because she’s nothing short of an inspiring entrepreneur who currently has big plans within the virtual assistant industry.
Take it away, Maren…
Two concepts have dramatically changed my life in the last 5 years, the first was the 80/20 principle which I first heard mentioned on an internet business podcast and later studied in it’s original form (Pareto’s Principle). The second concept took a while for me to fully understand but once I wrapped my mind around it – it rocked my world. This was the idea of virtual assistants, the concept that I could hire someone for a good rate to take over all the tasks that come up that I either didn’t like or wasn’t good at.
After a year or so of experimenting with virtual assistants – it took me some time to find quality hires – I realized that the concepts behind Pareto’s Law (the 80/20 principle) applied perfectly to the world of delegating to virtual assistants. Let me explain…
The 80/20 Principle
The gist is to break anything into a pie chart mentally. The whole pie equals 100% and slices of the pie take away from that 100%. You then apply that pie to your day, Pareto’s law says that 20% of your day contributes to 80% of the results, where as the other 80% of your day (the vast majority) only contributes to 20% of results.
I’ve always loved this principle but I never understood what I could do with that 80% of my day that – though boring and not really that productive – still needed to be done (think errands, bills, research, etc). Thankfully that’s around the time I started really experimenting with virtual assistants and they have been the key that has unlocked massive productivity.
The Beauty of Virtual Assistants
Virtual assistants are the key to delegating that 80% of your day that you either hate doing, don’t want to do or plain aren’t good at. Which frees up your time and energy to only focus on the 20% that will throw off the most results.
I have used my virtual assistants for anything from organizing my calendar to doing customer support for clients to marketplace research and basic SEO. I usually go through my inbox each morning and forward on about 70% of it to my VA with short instructions as to how to proceed. Some things she files, some things she follows up on, often she balances not only my budget but makes sure I make all my appointments.
Right now my virtual assistant is working on getting me a free round trip flight on Southwest since on my latest flight my bag not only was lost but came back shredded. That is going to take her hours to accomplish and each hour it takes is an hour I save, which I can put towards building my business and being more productive.
Often getting your feet wet in the delegation river seems scary and imposing. Nobody likes to give up control, but what we don’t realize is it’s this exact urge that keeps most people slaving away – wasting most of their time for minimal results. So take it slow, don’t wage an all out war on your psyche. Instead you can slowly introduce your mind to the concept of delegating tasks that you don’t want to do or aren’t good at.
So take one day and write down everything you do, then make notes on what can only be done by you and what could be done by someone else. Be honest, most of the things on your to-do list don’t have to be executed solely by you. When you hire a virtual assistant you can start with just a few hours a week – then start assigning them a few things from your list a day that you don’t want to do. You can scale up from there and within a few weeks you’ll be eagerly delegating as much as you can off your plate and onto your virtual assistants.
The concepts behind Pareto’s Principle and the ideas of delegation will completely change your life if you let them and when paired together they have the ability to help you achieve even your largest goals.
Leave a comment and share how YOU think virtual assistants could free up that 80% of your day.