The Pareto Effect

Align your time commitments with your goals and values and adopt the 80/20 principle!
With an increasingly busy lifestyle, it is only normal for us to feel compelled to achieve everything we have set our minds to. Too often we choose to take on too many tasks, and worse yet, focus on tasks which have no alignment to our goals and values. For me, I never truly realised that I was concentrating my time and efforts on things that didn’t matter until I read a great article by Mark Manson talking about the Pareto Principle or the 80/20 rule. You can read about it here , but essentially the 80/20 rule states that “80% of results, will come from 20% of time or resources”. Translating this – “we are spending too much time on things that don’t matter”. Whilst the 80/20 rule was essentially created as a management tool for businesses to use to increase productivity, the teachings can also draw lessons from a personal sense. As Manson states:
What are the 20% of your possessions you get the most 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 make you the happiest?
What are the 20% of the clothes you wear 80% of the time?
What’s the 20% of 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. For instance, the 80% of people you spend time with who only add 20% of the pleasure in your life (spend less time with them). The 80% of crap you use 20% of the time (throw it out or sell it). The 80% of the clothes you wear 20% of the time (same thing).
Identifying the 20% of the food you eat 80% of the time will probably explain whether you keep a healthy diet or not and how healthy it is. Hey, who needs to follow a diet? Just make sure to switch to where the 20% of food you eat 80% of the time is healthy.
When I first considered how the 80/20 Principle applied to my own life, I instantly realized a few things. A few of my hobbies (television shows and video games) accounted for 80% of my time only brought me 20% of my fulfillment.
I didn’t enjoy a few of my friends who I spent 80% of my time with (hence I was not happy in my social life).
80% of what I spent my money on was not useful or healthy for my lifestyle.
Recognizing these things eventually inspired some hefty changes in my choices and my lifestyle. I dropped video games and television for one. I made efforts to identify other friends to spend more time with, and I paid more attention to what I bought with my money.
That’s my tip for simplifying your life! Adopt the 80/20 rule to your life and see 80% of results for 20% of the effort 😉
Written by a New Yorker with a Big Apple vision, Amron