Perhaps you've heard of the 80/20 rule, but don't know where it came from or how it was adapted. Please allow me to give a bit of background on the 80/20 rule before I jump into the way you can put it to work for you.
In 1906, Italian economist Wilfredo Pareto came up with a mathematical principle to describe the distribution of wealth in his country. He found that 20% of the people had 80% of the wealth.
A quality management guru, Dr. Joseph Juran observed a theory of the "vital few" and the "trivial many" and inaccurately attributed this to Pareto, thus the "Pareto Principle" was named and the "80/20 rule" was used to describe how to be more effective.
Focusing on the "vital few" in your life can make a huge difference in the accomplishments you'll make in your life. Examine a list of 10 things to-do, and chances are you'll find that there are 2 things that will have more value than the other 8 things combined. These are the 2 things that absolutely must be done for the day, and the other things can given to someone else to do, planned for another day, or ignored altogether.
By doing these 2 things, you will do more than you ever thought possible. Chances are these 2 things are often the hardest things on your list to do, and some would say that doing something is better than doing nothing. I would argue that doing these little things is a lot like doing nothing, because they're little things that don't amount to much at all. Doing these big things will give you the confidence you need to do even bigger things, and then you'll achieve more, and believe in yourself more, thus doing even bigger things, and the flywheel is now in your favor.
As Brian Tracy would say "Eat That Frog!" and do those difficult, valuable things, and watch your achievements go through the roof. Of course, you can always focus on the trivial few, and focus on just getting any old thing done. You'll be able to tick off many items on that to-do list, but never really get ahead. It's really up to you, and I hope you'll choose to make it great and eat that frog!
Phil Gerbyshak leads a team of IT help desk professionals in Milwaukee, WI, and finds that sharing his knowledge is a crucial component in his success as a leader and as a person. Phil's personal philosophy is paraphrased from Tim Sanders' fantastic book Love is the Killer App: "Share your knowledge, your network, and your love. The rest will follow." Check out more of Phil's musings at http://makeitgreat.blogspot.com