The 80/20 Rule: Maximising Impact, Minimising Busy Work.

Carl Pullein
4 min readNov 15, 2023

One of the things that has always struck me about amazingly productive people is their ability to quickly decide whether something is essential. These incredibly effective people seem to be able to eliminate the unimportant and only focus on tasks that will move them closer towards their goals.

A better way of making sure you get the important things done.

I recommend you collect all the routine tasks you must do daily, weekly and monthly and then separate them into their own list. What this does is help remove tasks that need doing but do not improve the quality of your life or take you closer towards achieving your goals. Those things must be done: taking the garbage out, doing the weekly sales report or cleaning your house. These tasks will not take you further to achieving the goals you have set for yourself. Essentially, you are demoting their importance to you so you can focus on the higher-quality tasks.

We naturally move towards the easy tasks.

The problem is when you have a to-do list full of essential and unimportant tasks, you will naturally navigate towards doing the easy tasks. Doing the quick, easy tasks gives you the dopamine hit we crave, and you see your to-do list shrink. The problem is you also feel you are accomplishing something, yet if you took a step back, you would realise you are accomplishing nothing important.

The more complex, longer tasks get pushed back, left to do when you are tired or about to finish for the day. The problem is that the more complex, more challenging tasks are the important ones. The tasks that would accelerate you towards achieving the things you want to achieve.

A far better way to manage your to-do list is to relegate those easy routine tasks to the end of the day. This is why moving your routine tasks into a separate list helps to stop you from being tempted into doing them at the expense of the more critical tasks.

The question is, how do you do that?

The first thing you can do is sit down and look at your to-do list from the last week. Look at the tasks you completed, find the tasks you have to do every day…



Carl Pullein

I help people learn to manage their lives and time better so they can experience joy and build a life they are truly proud of.