Double down on the 20% of activities that provide you with 80% of your results – genius!
The Pareto Principle, also known as the 80/20 rule, states that for many events, roughly 80% of effects come from 20% of the causes. Why does this matter? Because now you can maximize your output without hustling when you know which activities fall into your 20%!
Based on this principle, only 20% of our actions are actually productive and impact our success. Your read that right. That means 80% of the things we are trying to micro-manage or are distracting ourselves with (yes, emails and social media included!) really have little impact on the outcome of our happiness and success. So the trick is to learn to decipher what is the 20% that is important and what is the 80% that we can let be “good enough”.
What Exactly is the 80/20 rule?
In the 1900s, Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto observed that 80% of income in Italy was received by 20% of the Italian population. The principle was later proven in many other fields such as computing, engineering, and social outcomes. It also shows up in many natural phenomena like 20% of pea pods containing 80% of peas – neat, right?! This principle has been used in highly studied technical ways and also applied in personal development to enhance mindfulness, personal relationships, efficiency, and time management. It can be applied to almost any situation where you need to decipher what is important and what is not.
How to Figure Out What Belongs in the 20%
“There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.” – Peter Drucker
- Be Intentional with your Time – schedule your day’s activities and events beforehand.
- Prioritize – Make a list and focus on the top points that need attention, giving those tasks the bulk of your time.
- Single Task – Focus on one task at a time. Multi-tasking has proven to be incredibly counter-productive to task completion and higher brain power functions like the ability to be creative or problem-solve.
- Focus on Relationships that Return your Effort – You can apply the 80/20 rule to relationships in your life. Put your efforts into friendships and relationships that both parties are investing time and energy into – and that make you feel good!
- Invest your Time into What Makes you Happy – If 20% of things you do bring 80% of your happiness make sure to put those things at the top of your list!