Have you heard of the 80/20 Rule? Do you pay attention to this rule in your own life? It’s nothing new, but it’s time for me to revisit and re-commit to this concept, and use it to my advantage. I want to make sure I am being as smart and productive as possible…
The 80/20 Rule
If you are not familiar with the 80/20 rule, in the most basic form it states that for most things in life, 80 percent of your results come from 20 percent of your efforts. This rule dates back to an Italian economist, Vilfredo Pareto, who in 1906, noticed that approximately 80% of the land in Italy was owned by about 20% of the people. Pareto then studied this idea elsewhere and found the same to be true in other countries. If this is truly the case, and I believe it is (although the exact ratio may not be 80/20 all the time) then it is up to us to focus our efforts on the 20% that really matters. This is so powerful.
By concentrating your efforts into the 20% of activities that give you back 80% of your satisfaction, pleasure, money, love, etc., you become more in control of your life. By keeping this one rule in mind every day you can start to part ways with the 80% of non productive and inefficient activities that keep you from fulfilling your full potential.
Now to be sure, there will almost always be things we don’t want to do that need to be done. Take out the trash, do your taxes, things that must get done. The key is to minimize the things we do that are in the 80% and move towards spending more time in the productive, worthwhile 20%.
The 80/20 Rule in Your Business Efforts
Whether you are a large company or an individual, you can apply the 80/20 rule to your advantage in your business.
Most of us will find that about 80% of sales or income comes from 20% of our customers, clients or collectors. As mentioned above, the ratio may not be exactly 80/20, it might be 85/15, or 78/22, or some other combination. The key is to start looking at your world through this prism and examining the areas of your life where you can take advantage of this rule.
In business – By putting your efforts into the 20% of activities that gives you 80% of your sales, you are now focusing on your most productive area of revenue. Therefore it is key to nurture and know your big buyers and your repeat buyers. Focus on these customers because 80% of your profits will likely come from this 20%. Focus on this 20% and whatever time is leftover can be spent on this less productive 80%.
Maximize the small and powerful 20% and reduce the wasteful 80%!
It’s not all about business. Relationships can benefit from the 80/20 rule as well. You know it and I know it; not all relationships are mutually fulfilling. Start focusing on the 20% of relationships that give you more of what you need, and nurture and cherish these. The other relationships that fall into the less fulfilling 80%, can have whatever time you have leftover.
The same thing applies to your happiness. What in your life truly makes you happy? Again, by focusing your time on those 20% of activities that are the most pleasing to you. Your leftover time can be spent on the 80% that does not contribute much to your happiness.
How to Start Using the 80/20 Rule
- Take a look at your life, and pick out an area where you think you might be out of balance. You might be surprised to find that there are several areas of your life that are out of balance with the 80/20 rule.
- Try to pick out the activities in your life that are giving you the most results emotionally, financially, professionally; in any area that is important to you.
- Start emphasizing those areas of your life that are in that most productive 20%. Make them first on your list of things to do.
- Start thinking of ways to phase out or eliminate the unimportant, unproductive and un-fulfilling 80% of activities that don’t give you the quality of life you need. What isn’t giving you value back? Relationships? Investments? Career?
- Read this blog article on the 80/20 Rule Can Change Your Life by Yaro Starak. It is the best article I have ever read on the subject, and is much more in-depth than this one. Please read it all the way to the end.
I first read about the 80/20 rule many years ago and basically forgot about it. Now that I have “rediscovered” it again, I have found myself much more at ease and able to decide what needs to be done by thinking 80/20. I think I have done this in some ways all along without thinking about it, but I could have done much better.
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