Kids, work, house, life – struggle to manage it all? The '80/20 principle' might just solve this
Feeling like the juggle is sometimes a little too crazy?
You know – between trying to do well at work, keeping the house in a semi-liveable state, raising great kids, having time for romance with your partner; it can feel like we need more than 24 hours in the day.
The thing is – there could be. If you take a leaf out of Jamie Glowacki's, author of Oh Crap! I Have a Toddler, book, and apply the 80/20 principle to your own life.
Curious? Well, you certainly will be when you hear that Glowacki claims the concept has given her three more hours every day.
The 80/20 theory is, according to PureWow, based around the Pareto principle, with the general idea being this: 80 percent of the effects come from 20 percent of the causes. The theory originated from the work of Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, but it can be applied across a range of fields. In a garden, for example, 20 percent of the plants will deliver 80 percent of the produce. Or in software, fixing 20 percent of the reported bugs eliminates 80 percent of the errors. (You get the idea.)
According to Glowacki, the Pareto principle can also be applied to parenting with tremendous success. How, you may ask? Well apparently, it all comes down to time management, and figuring out what you’re super effective at and what your time-drains are.
This all sounds a little out-there and too time-consuming to even attempt, I know, but luckily, Glowacki has a six-step method to help you break it down, and when you have done this, rest assured it will make a huge difference to how your precious time is spent:
- Figure out what you would do with your extra time. Be as specific as possible and write down exactly what you would do if you had more hours in the day (Think: “Go out to dinner with my partner” and not just “Spend more time with spouse.”)
- Decide on your priorities. Take some time and figure out three daily, weekly and life priorities. A daily one might be tidying up the house, a weekly priority could be spending time with friends and a life priority could focus on healthy eating and regular exercise for the entire family.
- Identify the time-drains. Be honest with yourself and write down three areas of your life that you spend a lot of time on. (Such as checking emails, texting, doing laundry or cleaning up after your kid.) The idea isn't to cut these things out (although, wouldn't that be nice?), but it will help with the next step...
- Call out "fake productivity." According to the Pareto principle, 20 percent of what you’re doing is producing almost all of your results. That means that 80 percent of your actions are what Glowacki calls “fake productivity.” Identify those actions from the step above where you feel like you’re doing something but really, you’re just messing around. (Bingeing on Netflix instead of going to sleep might come to mind.)
- Make a plan. Now that you’ve figured out all the ways you’re spending your time ineffectively, come up with some ideas for how to fix the problem. This will depend on your individual goals, but here’s a helpful example: If you find yourself constantly picking up toys throughout the day, stop. (Yes, this is considered “fake productivity.”) Instead, pick up toys once a day, right after you put down the baby for the night.
- End the culture of busy. Admit it—every time someone asks you how you’re doing, you respond with a, “Oh, I’m so busy.” Glowacki says that you can control the busy. How? Stop signing your kid up for endless activities, re-examine your to-do list and ask yourself, ‘What’s the least I can do?’
Look – we know we are heading into Christmas now, where routines and plans tend to go out the window a little – as they should - but, how about giving this six step plan a little thought over the next few weeks, so that come November 1, you are ready for a far more organised and in-control-of-your-time life? I know I will!