How to use the Pareto Principle to create the life you desire

A powerful concept that can change your life

The Pareto PrincipleIf you have been reading this blog for any length of time you will know that I’m a great fan of the Pareto Principle or as it is more commonly known the 80/20 rule.

The Pareto Principle is the idea that 80% of your results come from 20% of your actions. You wear 20% of your clothes 80% of the time. The top 20% of sales people make 80% of the sales. It’s a powerful concept that can be used to change your life quickly.

Use the Pareto Principle to create the life you desire:

1. Realize that your instinct is to focus on the 80% of your options that provide minimal results. The Pareto Principle isn’t for the weak-hearted. The easy, comfortable actions we prefer are those that provide little in the way of results. The most meaningful actions are less comfortable.

  • For example, switching to fat-free doughnuts isn’t too hard, but it also won’t lead to a lot of weight loss. Leaving the dinner table when you’re still a little hungry each night for 6 months is more challenging, but will make a huge difference.

2. It can be applied to nearly any area of your life. 80% of your happiness comes from 20% of your actions. What if you arranged your life so you could spend more time on that 20%? By the same token, 80% of the grief in your life comes from 20% of the people in your life. What if you could limit or eliminate them from your life?

3. The 80/20 principle saves a lot of time. By focusing on the actions that make the biggest difference, you can save a tremendous amount of time.

  • It’s all about efficiency. Consider each part of your life and make a list of the most important actions you take. These are the vital few actions that make most of the difference.

4. Ask yourself the important questions, using the 80/20 principle. Then, you’ll have enough information to make a huge change in your life. You know what makes you happy, who makes you happy, and what creates your success. You also know which things and people are obstacles to these objectives.

  • Which 20% of my activities cause 80% of my stress?
  • Which 20% of my activities lead to 80% of my happiness?
  • Which 20% of my friends do I enjoy the most?
  • Which 20% of my friends cause the most pain?
  • Which 20% of my skills account for 80% of my success?
  • Which 20% of my beliefs cause 80% of my grief?

5. Begin to apply the principle to your life. What are you trying to accomplish? Let’s imagine that you own a business and want to apply The Pareto Principle.

  • 20% of your employees do 80% of the work. You’d better treat them well to ensure they don’t leave!
  • 20% of your employees cause 80% of the problems. You might want to show them the door.
  • 20% of your customers provide 80% of your profits. Cater to these customers.
  • 20% of your actions created 80% of your customers. Focus on those actions to gain new customers.
  • 20% of the actions you take provide 80% of the value you’re creating at work. Spend more time on that 20%.

The 80/20 principle can be applied to any part of your life you wish to change. You’ll save a tremendous amount of time and get more accomplished. Ensure that you’re spending your time on the activities that can create the biggest impact.

How could you use The Pareto Principle in your life? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Till Next Time

Mike gardner is The Time Doctor

Mike Gardner aka ‘The Time Doctor’ and is highly regarded as one of the UK’s leading Time Management and productivity specialists. As well as being regularly featured in both online and off-line media outlets around the world, he is the author of the best selling time management book, Business Owners: Your Family Misses You. He regularly speaks on topics that are congruent with his mission of helping small business owners, entrepreneurs and independent professionals to be incredibly productive, whilst still balancing their business and family commitments in a way that enables them to feel fulfilled and guilt-free. He is an avid Aston Villa fan, a Dad to Neil & Emma, a hubby to Wendy and in his role as an Officer with the reserve forces, he has completed operational tours of Iraq and Afghanistan.

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