The 80/20 Rule, or Pareto Principle, probably isn’t new to you. The Pareto Principle is the idea that 80% of your results come from 20% of your actions. You wear 20% of your clothes 80% of the time. The top 20% of sales people make 80% of the sales. It’s a powerful concept that can be used to change your life quickly.

Use the 80/20 Rule to create the life you want:

  1. Realize that your instinct is to focus on the 80% of your options that provide minimal results. The Pareto principle isn’t for the faint of heart. You might remember a while back I talked about getting out of your comfort zone. This is highly relatable. The easy, comfortable actions we prefer are often those that provide little in the way of results. The most meaningful actions are less comfortable.
  • For example, switching to fat-free doughnuts isn’t too hard, but it also won’t lead to a lot of weight loss. Oh if only fat-free, sugar free, calorie free delicious doughnuts existed!!

Leaving the dinner table when you’re still a little hungry each night for 6 months is more challenging, but will make a huge difference.

  1. It can be applied to nearly any area of your life. 80% of your happiness comes from 20% of your actions. What if you arranged your life so you could spend more time on that 20%? By the same token, 80% of the grief in your life comes from 20% of the people in your life. What if you could limit or eliminate them from your life? (see my previous thoughts on walking away from the drama in your life!)
  2. The 80/20 principle saves a lot of time. By focusing on the actions that make the biggest difference, you can save a tremendous amount of time. 
  • It’s all about efficiency. Consider each part of your life and make a list of the most important actions you take. These are the vital few actions that make most of the difference.
  1. Ask yourself the important questions, using the 80/20 principle. Then, you’ll have enough information to make a huge change in your life. You know what makes you happy, who makes you happy, and what creates your success. You also know which things and people are obstacles to these objectives.
  • Which 20% of my activities cause 80% of my stress?
  • Which 20% of my activities lead to 80% of my happiness?
  • Which 20% of my friends do I enjoy the most?
  • Which 20% of my friends cause the most pain?
  • Which 20% of my skills account for 80% of my success?
  • Which 20% of my beliefs cause 80% of my grief?
  1. Begin to apply the principle to your life. What are you trying to accomplish? Think about yourself as a business, or imagine running your own business if you don’t already. Here’s how to apply the Pareto Principle.
  • 20% of your employees do 80% of the work. You’d better treat them well to ensure they don’t leave!
  • 20% of your employees cause 80% of the problems. You might want to show them the door.
  • 20% of your customers provide 80% of your profits. Cater to these customers.
  • 20% of your actions created 80% of your customers. Focus on those actions to gain new customers.
  • 20% of the actions you take provide 80% of the value you’re creating at work. Spend more time on that 20%.

The 80/20 principle can be applied to any part of your life you wish to change. You’ll save a tremendous amount of time and get more accomplished. Ensure that you’re spending your time on the activities that can create the biggest impact.

Now if only I could invent that doughnut………..

Deborah Cripps

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