How much bandwidth do you have today?
We all have seasons of feeling overwhelmed and overloaded with responsibility. I remember the first time I heard a co-worker refer to that as running out of bandwidth. It was one of those sayings that instantly made its way into my vocabulary.
We have an allotment of time and energy available to us each day. When we are operating with a low level of bandwidth, it is easy to avoid important things like our finances, calls or emails we need to return, getting a workout in, confronting an issue we know will be difficult. But, what we avoid today takes up a higher level of bandwidth tomorrow. Sound familiar? Here is a hack for that. Try the Big 6 (and the bonus).
First, understand the Pareto Principle. The Pareto Principle was suggested by management consultant, Joseph M Juran and named for Italian economist, Vilfredo Pareto. The principle, also called the 80/20 rule, states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the outcomes come from 20% of the actions. This suggests that in business 80% of activity is not revenue-producing. It is just busy work, and much of it is a complete waste of time. Understanding the Pareto Principle is grasping that all activity is not created equally. The key is to identify those actions that yield the greatest return and do those first.
The Big 6
The Big 6 hack involves taking a minute or two each day before you launch headlong into a flurry of activity and mentally selecting the top six tasks you need do get done. Now take your list of six and prioritize them in order of what will get you the best return. Return means revenue, and it also means knocking out the difficult tasks that give you more freedom and peace of mind. The act of writing your list down is helpful in two ways. Writing something (by hand) causes your mind to think differently; and by writing something down it increases your commitment to it. Perhaps try a 3×5 card that stays in front of you. At the end of today, evaluate your list and build tomorrow’s list.
Now here is your bonus hack as a reminder. Use a text speaking tool (like Siri) to absorb emails/articles more quickly and save time. Personally, I cannot stand to have my inbox cluttered with unread emails. All of us get plenty of emails that are of little to no value, but we can make the mistake of avoid important emails if we already feel overwhelmed. If I feel rushed or I am on the go, I use this to keep up. I subscribe to several email lists. Some of those authors are prolific writers and their emails are not short. When I subscribed to their list, I had an intention for the benefit I expected to receive, if I don’t read what they write, I can’t blame the author. I read these emails or listen to them as a commitment to my own growth.