Book 2.5 – Show Him the Money
from The One Minute Minister: Restoring Spirituality to Time Management
“Show me the money?” the minister asked.
Frank picked up an envelope out of the basket and opened it. “Basically, the problem of accumulating too many yokes and burning out is a problem of time management. We use time management in the wrong way: to help us to have the time to do ‘things right.’ Whenever we gain some efficiency, we add to the number of things we have to do right until we are maxed out again. The best purpose of time management is to move from ‘doing things right’ to ‘doing the right things’.”
“You’ve lost me.”
“That’s why we’re going to show you the money. Ever heard of the Pareto principle or the 80/20 rule?”
“Define the Pareto principle for me.”
“The 80/20 rule is that in human communities correlations frequently break down into groups of eighty percent and twenty percent.”
“Such as?” Frank prodded.
“Eighty percent of the sales are made by twenty percent of the sales people. The other twenty percent of sales are made by the other eighty percent.”
“Exactly. Eighty percent of the complaints are made by twenty percent of the church members.”
“It’s not always negative,” Bill said. “Eighty percent of the compliments are made by twenty percent of the church members.”
“And, more to the point, eighty percent of the profit comes from twenty percent of the products,” Angel finished.
“Now,” Frank said, “we will apply the Pareto principle to what you do each day.” He opened the envelope and counted out five $20 dollar bills onto the table. It was play money.
“Each of these bills represents twenty percent of your time each day. All together they add up to 100% then, right?”
“Because of the 80/20 rule you know that eighty percent of the benefit or profit or whatever you want to call it, will come from one and only one of these tasks.” Frank laid down four more $20 bills next to one of the original $20 bills. “You agree?”
“Twenty dollars input, eighty dollars output?”
“Twenty percent input, eighty percent output?”
“This is good, right?”
“Now, how much of the total amount is left to distribute among the other tasks?”
“Then how much to each one?”
Light dawns. “Five dollars …” the minister said.
“OK. Twenty dollars input, five dollars output. And what do we call that?”
“A loss,” Bill said.
“A bad investment of our time,” Angel said.
“A waste of our time,” Frank said.
QUESTIONS FOR MEDITATION, JOURNALING OR GROUP DISCUSSION:
Do you have a tendency to add to your list of roles responsibilities when you feel caught up?
Do you have a tendency to volunteer without thinking through the obligation?
Is your focus more on doing things right or on doing the right things?
Do you feel the Pareto Principle applies to your list of roles responsibilities?
Are some more valuable than others?
Are some more productive than others?
The tool of a time inventory is from Peter F. Drucker, The Effective Executive: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done.