I frequently worry that being productive is the surest way to lull ourselves into a trance of passivity and busyness the greatest distraction from living, as we coast through our lives day after day, showing up for our obligations but being absent from our selves, mistaking the doing for the being.
~Maria Popova, in a reflection on Seneca's 'On the Shortness of Life'
In today's day and age, it is easy to get lulled into a sense of accomplishment by simply tackling tasks efficiently.
Of course, being efficient at the wrong things is a tragic use of our most precious asset - time.
The Pareto Principle, also known as the 80-20 rule, posits that 80% of outcomes come from 20% of inputs.
Top performers exploit the Pareto Principle by identifying the 20% (not always easy) and then focusing on those inputs 50-80% of their time, which vastly magnifies their outcomes compared to other people.
The 80-20 rule can be applied across your life - to work, health and fitness, personal finance, cooking and more.
Focus on effectiveness first, efficiency (a distant) second.
P.S. The inspiration for this post - this annotated reading of Seneca by Maria Popova - is required reading for everyone.
I write about deliberate living, learning, and doing good work.