Doing less is not being lazy. Don’t give in to a culture that values personal sacrifice over personal productivity – Tim Ferris
- Simply spoken, this concept states that for many outcomes roughly 80% of consequences come from 20% of the causes
- The examples go endless. Of course, no one was on-site with a ruler that measured out exactly 80% and 20% for all these things, but the approximate ratio of 4:1 kept showing up
- The Pareto Principle allows you to focus on the things that have the most significant impact on your life
- Make a list of the 10 things you spend the most time on
- Circle the two that truly drive your results. Do more of those
- Look at the others. Eliminate ruthlessly. Automate or outsource what you can. Press pause on the rest
You most likely have heard of the Pareto Principle, right?
Simply spoken, this concept states that for many outcomes roughly 80% of consequences come from 20% of the causes. Other names for this principle are the 80/20 rule or the law of the vital few.
It’s a kind of universal truth about the imbalance of inputs and outputs, and the main point of it is not the ratio but to find the small things that give you the biggest results.
Sounds quite simple, right?
Although I’ve been familiar with the 80/20 rule for several years, I didn’t put it into action until late last year. I need to admit that I wasn’t really convinced of the potential and didn’t really know how I could apply it to my life.
In today’s article, I will write about the benefits of applying the Pareto Principle, 10 astounding real-life examples of it, and simple steps to make use of this concept.
Benefits of identifying the vital few
There is a practical reason why we should take advantage of the Pareto Principle: It allows you to focus on the things that have the most significant impact on your life.
For example: If 20% of the food you eat is leading to 80% of the illnesses and health problems you have, you can simply identify bad eating habits and fix your diet. Similarly, if 20% of your free time is driving 80% of your happiness, you may want to focus on these hobbies and do more of them.
The most interesting thing about the 80/20 rule is the ability to analyze your goals and tasks differently. You will start to tackle what will give you the most results and happiness first.
10 real-life examples of the Pareto Principle
- 20% of infectious individuals are responsible for superspreading, transmitting, and spreading 80% of the disease including sexually transmittable diseases
- 90% of complaints are made by 10% of users
- 80% of customers only use 20% of software features
- In health care in the United States, 20% of patients have been found to use 80% of health care resources
- 20% of drivers cause 80% of all traffic accidents
- 20% of athletes win 80% of the time
- 85% of the important conversations are from 15% of the emails.
- 20% of my YouTube videos account for 70% of my views
- The Dunedin Study has found 80% of crimes are committed by 20% of criminals.
- 80% of the pollution originates from 20% of all factories
The examples go endless. Of course, no one was on-site with a ruler that measured out exactly 80% and 20% for all these things, but the approximate ratio of 4:1 kept showing up. The point is that you obtain maximum benefit from a small input, or something costs you a lot more than it’s worth.
How to apply the principle
I applied this concept to various areas of my life:
- Lifting exercises: What are the 20% of exercises that yield 80% of the progress
- My YouTube Channel: What are the 20% of tasks to be done until a video is uploaded that yield 80% of value for my subscribers
- Food: What are the 20% of my diet that bear 80% of my nutritional health risks
- Happiness: With which activities do I spend 20% of my free time that lead to 80% of my happiness
- Work: What is the 20% of your work that gets you 80% of the credit and recognition from your team or boss
James Clear – author and productivity expert – devised a simple formula to make use of the 80/20 rule in your life:
(1) Make a list of the 10 things you spend the most time on.
(2) Circle the two that truly drive your results. Do more of those.
(3) Look at the others. Eliminate ruthlessly. Automate or outsource what you can. Press pause on the rest.
Once you’ve applied this simple recipe, you can easily focus on increasing the efficiencies in your life.
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