Court reporters seem to be masters of multitasking and experts on how to accomplish tasks efficiently and accurately, but even court reporters can become overloaded and overwhelmed by taking on too many responsibilities at once. Handling a high-volume of depositions may seem like a noble task that could help advance reporter’s career, but juggling too much at once can often cause a serious dip in productivity and quality of work. Suddenly, the tasks that once came naturally seem daunting. The Pareto Principal, also known as the “80/20 Rule,” can help a reporter regain a sense of control in order to harness and maintain productivity.

Accomplish more by doing less

The Pareto Principal, or the 80/20 Rule, is named after the Vilfredo Pareto, who discovered that 80 percent of Italy’s wealth and income belonged to just 20 percent of the population. That discovery lead to another: Many things are not distributed evenly. How does that relate to a reporter’s day-to-day duties? It is possible that 80 percent of your daily tasks that cause the most stress produce only 20 percent of the results you need. The Pareto Principal suggests that 20 percent of your daily tasks could conceivably produce 80 percent of the desired results. In other words, a majority of your accomplishments can actually come from focusing on the 20 percent of tasks that are deemed most critical. The idea is that you can accomplish more by essentially doing less.

This idea probably contradicts everything that most of us have been taught about work. Most people assume the role of ‘frazzled professional’ because it is a common idea that we need to work more, do more, and be more. The Pareto Principal teaches us that instead of focusing on the 80 percent of our tasks that take up our precious time and energy, according to The Interaction Design Foundation, we should instead focus on the 20 percent of our tasks that will ultimately lead to 80 percent of the results.

How does that work?

According to The Interaction Design Foundation, using the Pareto Principal will “highlight your inefficiencies so you can eliminate them” and “highlight your strengths so you can use them to create more value.” The Mint Life Blog tells us that when we focus on the things that produce the biggest bang for our buck, we can produce more results with less effort.

Reclaiming our productivity

By using the Pareto Principal, we can reclaim our productivity and maximize our results. If there are times during the day when you feel and are most productive, reserve those blocks of time for handling the hardest tasks of the day. When your productivity is at its height and you use that time to tackle the most intimidating tasks, you’ve already accomplished a bulk of your day. You’ll end the workday feeling more accomplished than you ever did by simply trying to handle it all at once.

The next time you find yourself scrambling to complete every deposition and please every client, take a step back and try to apply the 80/20 rule. Where can you focus 20 percent of your attention and effort that will accomplish 80 percent of the results you need?