In today’s post, I thought I’d talk a bit about the 80/20 Rule, what it is, why it is also called the Pareto Principle and how you can apply it to your own life.
What is the 80/20 rule?
The 80/20 rule, otherwise known as the Pareto Principle, is one of the most helpful concepts for life and time management. It states that 20% of your activities will account for 80% of your results.
The key to following the 80/20 rule is to identify that roughly 20% of your actions or most productive tasks lead to the most success. This can apply to any area of your personal and professional life.
Benefits of using the 80/20 rule
By applying the 80/20 rule, you can not only hone in on the things that will have the biggest impact but also identify the main causes of problems or lack of progress. Some additional benefits include greater productivity, increased self-confidence, efficient use of resources, better problem-solving skills, improved decision-making skills etc.
How does the 80/20 rule work?
It is not uncommon to see people who appear to be busy all day long but seem to accomplish very little. This is almost always because they are busy working on tasks that are of low value while they are procrastinating on the one or two activities that can have the biggest impact.
You can’t use the 80/20 rule to your advantage unless you know what it is you want to focus on. How do you cut out all the background noise and zero in on that 20% that’s going to make an extraordinary difference in your life?
The most valuable tasks you can do each day are often the hardest and most complex, but the payoff and rewards for completing them can be tremendous.
Before you begin doing a task, always ask yourself, “Is this task in the top 20% of my activities or in the bottom 80%?”
The rule for this is: Resist the temptation to clear up small things first.
Follow this process:
1. What’s Your Purpose?
Your purpose is the foundation of everything in your life or in your business – It’s your ‘WHY’. Every time you make a decision or a change, ask yourself, “Does this serve my purpose?” If you don’t know your purpose, you can’t create goals or take action.
2. What Are Your Priorities?
What’s holding you back from living your purpose? Maybe you need to finally take the leap and start your own business. Maybe you need to save money for that down payment on a home. As a business owner, you may need to work on creating more in-depth content or launch a new signature programme.
Write down five things you could start doing today to help you build the life you can’t stop dreaming about – one in which you get to live your purpose every day. Then prioritise them by how fast they will get you to your goal.
The top item – the most meaningful – is your first priority.
3. Create an Inspired Action Plan
Who would you need to become to make your dreams happen? What do you need to do?
I’ll tell you one thing you’ll need to do and that is to create SMART Goals: steps you can take that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and with a Time Frame. These specific action items are the real 20% of the 80/20 rule – the things you’ll spend 20% of your time doing that will give 80% of the results.
Some questions you ask yourself to get started using the 80/20 rule in your own life:
- What are the 20% of your possessions you get 80% value out of?
- What do you spend 20% of your time doing that gives you 80% of your happiness?
- Who are the 20% of people you’re close to who makes you the happiest?
- What are the 20% of the clothes you wear 80% of the time?
- What’s the 20% of the food you eat 80% of the time?
Chances are these are easy questions for you to answer. You’ve just never considered them before. And once you’ve answered them, you can easily focus on increasing the efficiencies in your life.
Steps to apply the 80/20 Rule
- Identify all your daily/weekly tasks.
- Identify key tasks.
- What are the tasks that give you more return?
- Brainstorm how you can reduce or transfer the tasks that give you less return.
- Create a plan to do more that brings you more value.
- Use 80/20 to prioritise any project you’re working on.
- Set a plan to focus on activities that produce the most results.