Living in today’s world, we are inundated with information about anything and everything that we can do, or needs to be done. Our social media and news feeds are flooded with posts and articles on how to lead a healthy lifestyle, where to plan the next vacation for can’t-miss activities, and how to climb the ladder to success at work, among others. Modern society could probably use an effective method of simplifying and streamlining all the activities that are perceived as essential, narrowing things down to what really matters. This is where the Pareto principle, or 80/20 system, comes into play. Entrepreneurs, coaches, and other leadership figures have long advocated using this method to focus efforts on what truly drives success. Here are some aspects of life where you could apply this principle and benefit from improved results.
Since it’s commonly used to increase productivity at work, the most direct application of an 80/20 system in our personal lives is towards time management. People have limited time and energy, and tend to knock off the easiest stuff first at the expense of more important tasks. Undertaking maintenance on a car or water heater will provide the long-term benefits of avoiding accidents and reducing energy consumption; these are much more significant results than what you might get from accomplishing a large volume of simple chores at home. You can allot time to accomplish the small wins, just make sure you have around 20% dedicated to important errands.
A penny saved may be a penny earned, but even if you set aside a dollar a day in a savings account you won’t be rich in 10 years. Maximizing financial investment often entails risk, but people can be averse to investing in volatile options such as stocks or Forex. Instead, let 20% of your assets work for you in this way, while you keep 80% in bonds, for instance. The same logic extends to the scale of expenses. If you’re buying property in Chandler, for example, local lenders can offer a more favorable home loan and save you thousands of dollars; that beats years of shopping for clothes at a thrift store.
People can often hit a plateau in terms of their career advancement despite being productive at work. The problem might be putting too much effort into low-impact tasks. For example, 80% of a company’s revenue may come from 20% of its clients; focusing efforts on providing these critical clients with the best service may be what upper management is looking for in its employees. This can also be applied to product, services, or systems development; if you want to step up in your career, make sure that your efforts are smartly invested in the areas that drive company success.
Fitness and well-being
If you’ve attempted a variety of exercise routines or diets in order to get healthy, you’re not alone. While our bodies all respond differently to any given regimen, efforts can also be maximized in this aspect of lifestyle. Exerting hard efforts in compound exercises such as deadlifts or squats will yield significant fitness gains compared to long periods of aerobic exercise such as jogging. Likewise, nutrition can be vastly improved by just controlling sugar intake.
Almost everywhere you look you can observe this pattern of uneven distribution of effort versus outcomes. Work hard, but also work smart, and let your 80/20 system drive excellent results.