80/20 Rule- USE IT!

NO- we aren’t talking about dieting. But as you will see, we could be.

As with most of these posts, this one comes from a tool that I use and talk about ad nauseam to my team members and employees so I’m now putting it out for everyone here! It will be quick and dirty, but can legitimately change the way in which you set goals and get more accomplished in less time. This is the way that some people just seem to get more done than others and work less. It doesn’t mean that there will be less work, it just means that you can do more efficient work with a greater impact if you focus on the WIN (what’s important now). If you’re interested in getting more done in less time, read up. There will be some additional sources at the bottom as well.

This tool we’re discussing is called the 80/20 rule or the “Pareto Principle.” It’s named after the mid early 1900’s Italian man Vilfredo Federico Damaso Pareto who, while standing in his garden and looking at his peas, realized that 20% of his pea pods made 80% of the healthy peas. After studying this further, he realized people in society divide naturally into what he called the “vital few,” or the top 20 percent in terms of money and influence, and the “trivial many,” or the bottom 80 percent. During his time, 80% of the wealth of Italy was controlled by 20% of the people.

Taking it a step further, the “universal truth” is that 20% of all inputs equal 80% of all outputs. So for instance in business:

  • 20% of your customer generally create 80% of your revenue
  • 20% of your sales reps generate 80% of your sales
  • 20% of your marketing generates 80% of your new customers
  • Conversely, 20% of your customers create 80% of your customer service issues.

So how do we apply this? Well, if 20% of your customers create 80% of your revenues, you should isolate those people and their demographics and use that for marketing so that you are brining in customers just like the ones who spend the most money. Hire the same style of sales person as the ones making the majority of your sales. See what people react to most on your marketing and spend a majority of your time on those campaigns or actions.

Here’s the kicker! We can even take this rule to the next step and apply the 80/20 rule to itself. This gives us that 4% of our efforts provides us with 64% of our outputs!!! Whoa…So you can get nearly 65% of all of your benefits with just 4% of your efforts. (10 MIN. DAILY MEDITATIONS. HELLO!)

So let’s take this to a more personal level. Looking at some of your daily goings ons, this starts to paint a picture that you can better relate to:

  • 20% of your clothes and shoes make up 80% of what you wear on a daily basis. Right, ladies??? All those shoes, but you wear 1-2 pairs most of the time. I’m the same way. Ive got a closet full of clothes yet I rotate the same 5-6 shirts and one pair of jeans almost EVERY SINGLE week.
  • 20% of your furniture is where you spend 80% of your time. I legit have 10 pieces of furniture I can sit or lay on, and I spend the VAST majority of my time in 2 places. Think about your own home.
  • 20% of your fiends are who you spend 80% of your social time with.
  • 20% of the apps on your phone take up about 80% of your screen time. I’m looking at you, Instagram. Go to Setting -> Battery -> Battery Usage to see… it’s probably even more skewed than 80/20
  • 20% of your fitness activities create 80% of your body response. Full-Body, HIIT workouts create vastly more benefit than a low intensity, isolated workouts.
  • 20% of your activities give you 80% of your happiness

And the list goes on and on and on. Remember:

4% of your efforts give your 64% of your results! If you’ve ever heard of the 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferries, this is essentially where his inspiration came from. Tim says that “being busy is a form of laziness- lazy thinking and indiscriminate action.” Eliminate the BS.

Take time to sit down, write out your goals, and figure out which of your top 10 goals are the two most important (your 20%) and eat the big, hairy frog first. Normally, the thing that we MOST need to do is the one we LEAST want to do; these are our HOA or high output activities. And if we knock out those important and complex things each day, the other stuff will seem easy.

The LOA, or low impact activities, are things like talking on the phone, answering stupid emails, wasting time on social media, etc. We are all bombarded by a massive amount of those LOAs at almost every minute of the day. Focus on what’s important or what provides great value to your team, company, or personal life and focus your efforts on those. Delegate or drop everything else.

So how will you apply your personal Pareto principle to your life? What 20% effort drives your 80% results. Focus on those and drop or delegate the rest!


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