A few years ago when I was in college, I learned a concept called the Pareto Principle. Have you heard of it? Essentially it states that 80 percent of our results come from the top 20 percent of our priorities. It matters because I discovered early on that there is never enough time to do everything, but there’s always enough time to do the most important things.

Ok, for those of you who are a little slower with your math (like me), let me break it down for you…

  • 80 percent of the food at a picnic is consumed by 20 percent of the people.
  • 80 percent of the questions are answered by 20 percent of the students.
  • 80 percent of the clothes in your closet are worn 20 percent of the time.
  • 80 percent of the project is done by 20 percent of the team members.

Makes sense, doesn’t it? When I learned this concept in college, it changed the way I spent my time. I learned two things fairly quickly: I was doing too many things and I was doing the wrong things. I needed to work smarter, not harder, to get where I wanted to go.

As you develop your inner leadership and start increasing your influence with others, it’s imperative that you evaluate your priorities. If you’re managing your time and cramming your days with the wrong things, you’ll stalemate, my friend. You’ll get stuck on managing instead of leading yourself well. That’s why today I’m going to give you three R’s to determine the few priorities you need in your top 20 percent.

There is never enough time to do everything, but there’s always enough time to do the most important things.

~John C. Maxwell

Use these three questions to determine your top 20 percent. These three R’s will help you evaluate your priorities so that you’re successful in leading yourself and avoiding a stalemate at all cost.

  1. What’s required of me? What must I do that only I can do?
  2. What’s my return? What areas of my life give me the most joy, fulfill my passion, and fuel me?
  3. What’s rewarding to me? What areas of my life are most satisfying?

I encourage you to answer these three questions. Make a list and determine your top 10 priorities. Then circle the top two. These are the two areas that deserve 80 percent of your energy.  Reflect on those top two. Are you stuck or are you succeeding? If you want to see change in your life and really develop the leader within you, then taking charge of your time and filling it with the things that matter most to you is a critical step.

[bctt tweet=”Remember, you don’t work for your to-do list. Make your list work for you.”]