Yesterday we spoke of the Vital Few & Trivial Many. Knowing this principle, I am afraid, is not enough. The next step is to identify what constitutes the Vital Few in your job. To recapitulate, the Vital Few are those elements which make up about 20 % of your job responsibilities but give you as much as 80 % of your results.

To identify the Vital Few, keep in mind not only of your own responsibilities but also those of your superior and team. It is probable that your Vital Few supplements something your boss is responsible for. There is a close relationship between your Vital Few and the results on the basis of which your team’s performance will be measured.

Although these days it is common to have organizations attempt to cut levels, it is a fact (and perhaps will remain so) that organizations are intrinsically hierarchical by nature and design. In such a format, some of your Trivial Many could actually be Vital Few for your subordinate.

Mohan, a manager I know , has a struggle going with this one. He cannot bear to see things go wrong or done in a manner less effectively than he would do himself. As a result, he is groaning under the workload because apart from his Vital Few ( which are suffering by the way) he is wrestling with doing his Trivial Many too. He is not delegating – with two sad consequences. 1.He is grossly overworked and 2. his team members are not growing- being perpetually in his shadow.

Having identified the Vital Few, you would like to manage them successfully. To do this, you need to break them up into purposeful actions.

As is often said, you cannot manage time but you can manage yourself. If you can’t manage yourself, you cannot manage time. To manage yourself, and focus on the Vital Few, know at all times what is important and not merely urgent.

The urgent is often a powerful magnet which draws us away from more important tasks. Everyone says everything is urgent. They try to get your attention and time under the plea of their need being urgent. The true definition of “urgent” means it is life threatening or mission critical. In brief, a show stopper. Let’s face it. 99 % of cases tagged as urgent in today’s world really aren’t urgent at all.

Stay focused on the larger issues. The ones that really matter for job success. Spend adequate time and effort on the Trivial Many without getting bogged down in detail. Delegate as much as you can. Manage those Vital Few- and manage them well for ultimately, they matter the most.

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