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The 80/20 Rule

The 80/20 Rule

Are you feeling anxious or pressured because there is more things to get done than you have energy or time for? Does it seem that everyone wants something of you?

Do you struggle with feeling stressed, or overwhelmed with life? Then this is for you!

However, if you are in slow season of life where time feels plentiful and responsibilities are manageable then this may not matter as much for you.

80/20 rule or pareto principle

The 80/20 Rule

I do prefer to be busy. I don’t like feeling overwhelmed though and as I get older I am more mindful that life is short. I want to spend my days in the best possible way.   

“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, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

How To Know What Is Important

Really you can set personal 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, picking up garbage along the beach or volunteering in an aged care home.  The 80/20 rule 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, is named after it’s founder, the Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto (1895). Pareto found that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population.

It is one way of working out what’s worth putting effort into it.

Pareto’s Principle describes how 80% of the results come from 20% of the causes.

And it can be applied to any area of life… work, parenting, relationships, exercise, diet.

80/20 Rule Examples

20% of the cleaning tasks you do at home, result in 80% improvement in how your home looks. Think cleaning the floors!

Or 20% of the clothing you own, gets worn 80% of the time.

I use the 80/20 rule a lot!  When decluttering, it helps me decide what to keep and what to get rid of.

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, may 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.

More Helpful 80/20 Ideas