Values & Life Lessons

2 minutes read

Living Impactfully – Applying the 80/20 Rule

How do we determine the best way to effectively use our precious and limited time? By changing certain behaviors that are within our control.

What if we applied the 80/20 Rule - also known as the Pareto Principle - to our daily decisions? It could be a useful tool to improve control over our everyday productivity and happiness.

The 80/20 Rule asserts that 80% of results come from 20% of actions. Historically, businesses often discovered that 80% of their profits were generated by 20% of their customers, or 77% of complaints come from 20% of customers… The approximate ratio is 4-to-1. The point is that the majority of results are driven by a minority of efforts.

In practice, this means that to maximize efficiency, businesses should focus on the critical 20% of activity. The 80/20 Rule does not suggest that the remaining 80% of activities should be completely ignored - they may simply require less focus.

The 80/20 Rule can be extended to our daily lives and the first step in its implementation would be to identify the activities that make up the critical 20%. Among the questions we should ask ourselves are the following:

  • What are the activities I spend 20% of my time doing and which provide me with 80% of well-being?
  • Who are the 20% of people who lift me up 80% of the time?
  • What are the 20% of behaviors that create 80% of the problems in my relationships?
  • What are the 20% of clothes I wear 80% of the time?
  • What is the 20% of food I eat 80% of the time?

Once you realize that up to 80% of your time and effort could be spent on tasks that account for only 20% of the impact on your well-being, the importance of setting priorities becomes obvious.

Identifying and listing your priorities is key to freeing yourself from the activities that are stressing you out, while focusing on those that are most critical to your happiness. Do you really want to spend that much time with people who wear you down? Instead, consider focusing on the 20% of folks who are always cheering you on? Do you really need to take an hour of your time to decide what to wear when you always end up choosing the same clothes anyway? Why not streamline your wardrobe to reflect your favorite clothing style?

These insights might inspire you to make some hefty changes in your daily choices and lifestyle. What changes could you introduce into your life today based on the 80/20 Rule?

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