These days I realized how much time we spend doing things that might not bring so much value in our lire, but we still need to do them. I remembered there is a dude that actually did some math (or maybe meth? Who knows!?) and he figured out that 80% of our actions bring 20% of the results and 20% of our actions bring 80% of the results.
Actually, there is some sense in this as I wrote a while back about this topic (the original post can be found here). I think we need to remember that not everything is equally important and we can make some changes in our life based on that.
Do you ever wonder how much our actions really matter? Well, in 1895 Vilfredo Pareto wrote about this. According to him, 80% of what we’re doing brings us 20% of the results we have, and 20% of what we’re doing brings us 80% of the results we have.
WTF, right? I think that there is some logic behind this. On a daily basis, there are things more important than others. Why are they more important? Because the outcome from doing those things is more important. But how many important things we do on a daily basis? For me, it’s somewhere around 20% and the rest of 80% of the things I do are not as important. In the same time, I noticed that those 20% bring 80% of the results of that day. Of course, it can be just a matter of perception so think about your day. How much time you use making the most important things and how much time you spend doing “ordinary” things?
The goal is to identify those 20% of things that bring 80% of the outcome and do more of that. The more we do, the more results we’ll have with minimum effort. This can apply to everything, so 20% of the effort brings 80% of the outcome and 80% of the effort brings 20% of the outcome. If we can identify what actions we do to bring 80% of the results, we only need to do a little more of that and the outcome will exponentially increase.
What do you think about this 80/20 rule? What examples can you find in your lives?
24 thoughts on “The 80/20 Rule – Reblog”
The Pareto principle is well proven and is talked about a lot by location independent business people. Also polyglots go on about it in reference to how much time you should spend on various linguistic aspects.
That sounds very interesting! What do those polyglots think?
They think that correct allocation of time is essential to get the most out of their lives. It allows you to maximise achievement therefore opening up time to enjoy yourself as well. Work hard play hard as the saying goes.
I’ve also heard people talking about the fact that a tight schedule and a strict time management can bring so much freedom compared to wondering around all day responding to the environment.
Yes I think this idea was first described by John Maynard Keynes in the 1920s and has been added to ever since with the most recent ideas being put forward by cal Newport and Timothy ferris. Check out the 4 hour work week for details.
I know about the 4 hours work week and I find it somehow intriguing 🙂
The idea predates this theories I think as far back as the French Revolution.
great point to think about! It’s difficult to identify the 20% though.
Yes, it is difficult… if you think about one normal day of yours, what are the top three important things you need to do that day?
That’s a great way to think about it! 3 main things that need to get done…sounds more doable than having a long list of to-do’s.
Thank you for sharing your insight!
Try it and let me know how it goes for you!
I’ve been thinking about this. What can I do to simplify my day? And my 3 things are basic but essential to healthy and good living: eat well, sleep well, and be regular. I know it sounds so silly, but there’s a Korean saying that if those 3 things are done well, you can do other things well. Not getting enough of those 3 physical needs can lead to some serious issues. I know from personal experience…I’m a busy mom of 2 small kids, and one of them with a heart condition.
So that’s my 3 things…lol
Thanks for the follow up question. Definitely helped me to think more about this.
Have a great day!
This is great! Thank you for taking action to make your life better! Have an amazing day!
Your question was a great way to think about simplifying routines. Gotta make sure your health is intact to get other things accomplished.
Hope you have a great rest of the week!
Thank you! You too! 😀
I see the same in relationships. It’s easier to invest time in meaningless relationships that if you really think about could easily fade over time than it is to build solid bonds with the quality, high achieving people in one’s life.
Very true! And even if we really think about our friends, only 20% of them are “best friends”. At least, that’s how it is for me.
I learned of the 80% rule while in sales years ago. It’s so true.
And I think it will continue to be true from now on!
Jordan Peterson had a nice bit about the Pareto principle in his book 12 Rules of Life. The principle has been called Matthew’s principle/Jesus’ principle because of the parable of the talents in Matthew. It is found in nature (mating animals: alpha male gets most of the females, food, etc.), the universe (larger stars accumulate more planets/moons, etc.), and in social structures (rich get richer, poor get poorer, etc.). Realizing it and focusing on what we can do about it gives us a chance to change it in our favor. In my life, I spend 80% of my time doing something, beneficial or otherwise, and 20% of my time resting or taking care of myself. It makes for an exhausting lifestyle.
Very interesting! Even though it’s exhausting, is this lifestyle helpful or productive?
It’s the only lifestyle I know. I am attempting to live by Marcus Aurelius’ writing: “If you seek tranquility, do less.” I haven’t gotten there yet. About the time I slow down to catch a breath, I remember, tempus fugit, time is fleeting.