I have been aware of the 80:20 principle for a long time but I’ll be honest I didn’t really pay attention.
If you want to succeed in life then you have to work hard right? Seriously hard!?
Or at least that is what I was taught in my early years of education spending my evenings trying to do my homework when the TV was on and wondering why my maths homework wasn’t sinking in.
But actually – No. This isn’t 100% true. The 80:20 principle (also known as the Pareto Principle) is the belief that 80% of your outcomes come from 20% of your inputs.
To put it in lay man’s terms, it really doesn’t matter what exact area this is applied to in your life but the important thing to remember is that there are certain actions you do that account for the majority of your happiness and productivity.
Let me give you an example that you can do yourself. Have a think about what you need to do today, if you have a to-do list – Excellent!
With each task think “Is this task in the top 20% of my activities or in the bottom 80%?”
Alternatively (and this is what I do with a lot of clients…so take it as a free coaching mini-session), section off your top 10 things in a list of priority and look at the top two items.
Those will always be the most urgent, the most important, then after that look at what can be delegated. Following that I am sure there are some things on that list that can be pushed back to tomorrow, next week….and dare I say it…..deleted!
My online course Time Management for Corporate Professionals demonstrates this exact ‘rule’ along with a few other time management tools and tips but pretty much the 80:20 principle can be applied to everything. Not just time management.
Let’s look at economic conditions, for example, the distribution of wealth and resources in this world. As I have mentioned before in my biography, I am working on a programme looking at governments and the distribution of wealth.
Generally, a small percentage of the population controls the biggest chunk, basically 80%!
Let’s use another example, let’s look at business. It isn’t a secret that 20% of employees are responsible for 80% of a company’s output or (and this is a fact which I know from working in business development), 20% of a company’s client list is responsible for 80% of the revenues, not exactly but certainly approximately.
So how does this make a difference to your level of success?
Let’s use it using my life as an example and see if you can relate.
Since I started working religiously to this model my life has completely changed. I repeatedly hear how so many people around me are “so busy” but I run my own coaching business, work a corporate job (if you haven’t read my story you can here), go on holiday frequently, run a series of networking events and speak worldwide; and have basically over the past year created a career that I love and is on my own terms.
Because I know that I don’t have to do it all. I work the 80:20 method and I want to show you how you can too. I don’t always consciously do it but it has become a second nature that I use so I can improve my efficiency and enhance my life.
I am guessing at this stage not all your favourite activities are monetised which unfortunately means you can’t sustain your life only on the things you enjoy but I can certainly show you how. It’s not difficult at all. It is all about your priorities and a little bit of patience.
When you start to really breakdown your life and look into each section (which is something I do with all my clients when they first come on board with me). We can see where your key happiness priorities are (your 20%) and once we have that, we can work together to put energy into the actions that produce the biggest results…. and avoid wasting time on the 80%.
Sounds easy doesn’t it? Well, like all things – what is easy to do is also very easy not to do and this is where coaching comes in.
What are your views on the 80:20 principle? Have you used it before? Have you used it but found it hard to stick to?
I would be very interested to know your thoughts.