The 80/20 Rule
There was a time in my life when I felt good being busy. There was something satisfying about having projects to work on, social events to attend, a long to do list to cross off… It made me feel, oh, important like my life had more value and meaning because I was busy!
“What if we stopped celebrating being busy as a measurement of importance? What if instead we celebrated how much time we had spent listening, pondering, meditating, and enjoying time with the most important people in our lives?”
― Greg McKeown,
The truth is we live in a world where most things are of little importance, and there are only a few things that have exceptional value. Our task is to distinguish the vital few from the trivial many.
So how does this apply to the practice of goal setting?
Really you can set goals about anything and everything! After all, goal setting is the process of turning your dreams into reality. However I think we have somehow missed the purpose of goals, if the end result is just a very busy life!
One way you can identify what is important from what isn’t, is something called the 80/20 rule or the Pareto Principle.
Note: Not all activities that are important and worth spending time on, produce big visible results. For example; caring for a newborn or an elderly parent. This is just one way to judge the value of tasks you do…
What is the Pareto Principle?
Pareto’s Principle or the 80/20 Rule, named after it’s founder, the Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto (1895), is an effective way of clarifying what’s important in comparison to what is busy, unimportant activities.
It describes how 20% of the invested input is responsible for 80% of the results obtained.
And it can be applied to any area of life…
For example; 20% of the cleaning tasks you do at home, results in 80% of what makes your home look clean.
or 20% of the clothing you own, gets worn 80% of the time.
or 20% of the teaching/discipline of your kids, produces 80% of the behavioral improvements.
When planning my days and weeks…
How To Apply The 80/20 Rule To Goal Setting
In terms of your own personal goals, this means that 20% of the effort you will invest, will produce 80% of the results you are after.
So I suggest take a look at your goal list and ask yourself…
“If I could only accomplish one of the goals on my list this year, which one would have the biggest positive impact on my life?”
That will show you what your most valuable goal is. Choose to focus on that goal first. Then pick the next most important goal and so on. You may find that you cross off several goals, as you clarify that what you will get from achieving that goal will not be worth the effort and time invested.
I encourage you to live an intentional life that focus on what matters most!
Click here for more helpful goal setting resources:
Why Set Goals? The Benefits of Goal Setting
How To Successfully Achieve Your Goals This Year
3 Secrets To Setting SMART Goals That Work
How To Slow Down Your Life
What To Do When You Feel Like Giving Up