Print Management Insider Blog

80/20 and the ABCs

Posted by David Thorne on Nov 22, 2016, 9:39:41 AM


A few simple ideas to help you have a productive day: Focus, Prepare, and Prioritize.

Most people are familiar with the 80/20 Rule – also known as the Pareto Principle. Example, you typically wear 20% of the clothes in your closet 80% of the time. Well, I recently had experience with this earlier this year while getting ready to put our house on the market. Our real estate agent suggested that we get a storage unit and start to hide some things to make the place appear more spacious. We started with the master closet. My wife and I put 50% of our clothes that were hanging in our closet into storage bins. After selling and buying a new home over the summer – those clothes are still in those bins. This was a reminder that they were part of that trivial bottom 80%.

In college and professional sports, 20% of the time is spent doing things like dealing with the media. The other 80% of the time the coaches and players are preparing for their next opponent – Doesn’t matter who it is, you could be hosting the Cleveland Browns at home or be on the road in a hostile environment in Seattle. These teams are spending the bulk of their time during the week preparing because, let’s face it, preparation is one of the keys to success in life. In sales – simply focus the majority of your time on the important things, like generating revenue or selling the problem that you’re solving for the customer.

I’m curious to know if these numbers hold true with your sales teams? That 80% of your sales are being generated by 20% of your sales reps. If you are currently in the bottom 20% of your company's sales ladder, you might want to get some additional coaching or find a new career. Otherwise, your company will force you into that position very soon. One of my every day sales motivations is something I heard from Brian Tracy more than 20 years ago – “If you want to be the best, make sure you are always in the top 20% of the top 20%, which is the Top 4%.” I’m currently reading one of his books, “No Excuses – The Power of Self Discipline.” What are you currently reading to stay sharp and on top of your game?

Here is a 90 second video on Improving your Productivity in life with the 80/20 Rule:


ABC list – Near the end of the day, it’s a best practice to make a list of what needs to be accomplished the next day and prioritize. I know it sounds like common sense, but how many people are doing this? This concept could be used by everyone in the company – not just the sales team. It will help you organize your thoughts and you will be subconsciously thinking about it while you sleep. 

If you watched that video above, it shows the example that if you have 10 things to do today and two of them are the most important, spend the majority of your time getting those done. These 2 items would be marked with an A on my list. The next most important items would be marked with a B and obviously the last few would have a C.  This might include something like adding notes to your CRM. 


Leveraging and prioritizing a list helps you focus and not procrastinate on the most important things that need to get done – Another great read from Brian Tracy is “Eat that Frog – 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time.”

The result of getting these important tasks and sometimes difficult tasks out of the way early in the day is you will have more confidence, you will feel more energized, you will make more calls, and reduce your stress level at the same time.


Please share your ideas that help you mentally prepare for each day in order to maximize your productivity.

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Topics: managed print, Managed Print Services, print audit, print management, print tracking, sales, sales tips, 80/20, productivity

David Thorne

Written by David Thorne

David Thorne is the Director of Channel Management for Print Audit.

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