Most people have heard of the Pareto Principle and its applications to productivity.
80% of the value comes from 20% of the effort.
The principle is a mindset. It is about optimising and making sure you are sticking to that 20% of the effort that creates the majority of the value.
I think it helps if you also consider the inverse when working:
The other 80% of the effort only results in the remaining 20% of the value
This is where “busywork” comes into the picture. You know those days where it feels like you were busy the whole time and did a lot, but when you reflect the next day you can hardly see any progress? That was a day spent on the wrong side of the equation. You were only adding a few extra percent of value, and yet spending a large percentage of effort getting there.
So make sure, 80% of your time is going to that 20% of effort which will result in 80% of the value – its a simple formula 🙂