In our last few +1s, we started talking about Kevin Kruse’s 15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management.
Today we’re going to talk about Secret #10.
It’s all about the 80/20 principle.
As you may know, in short, the 80/20 principle is the idea says that 80% of outcomes are generated by 20% of activities.
Here’s the fascinating origin story and the quick math then we’ll get to the practical application…
In 1897 Vilfredo Pareto, an Italian economist, was studying wealth and income distribution in 19th century England. He discovered that the majority of land and income was controlled by a minority of the population. In fact, 20% of the population controlled 80% of the wealth and income.
On further analysis, mythical lore says that he found that this principle held true not only in different countries and different time periods, but also in contexts such as his garden—where he discovered that 20% of his peapods yielded 80% of the peas that were harvested!
Since our pal Vilfredo identified the trend, many researchers have been busy pointing out some additional modern applications including these fun facts:
- 20% of motorists account for 80% of accidents
- 20% of your carpet probably gets 80% of the wear
- 20% of streets account for 80% of the traffic
- 20% of clients usually account for 80% of profits
- 20% of clothes in your closet are worn 80% of the time
- 20% of beer drinkers drink 80% of the beer.
The moral of the math?
As Koch tells us: ”20% of what we do leads to 80% of the results; but 80% of what we do leads to only 20%. We are wasting 80% of our time on low-value outcomes.”
He tells us that: “The few things that work fantastically well should be identified, cultivated, nurtured, and multiplied.”
And: “What is the 20 percent of your time when you achieve 80 percent of your results? Do more of it! What is the 80 percent of your time when you achieve little? Do less of it!”
All of which brings us back to Kevin and his wisdom.
He tells us: “The important takeaway from this chapter on the Pareto principle is not to run around with a calculator and actually do the math to figure out 80 percent and 20 percent calculations in different areas of your life.
It’s more important to have a mindset of identifying the few things and activities that will give you outsized returns. You want to:
- Look for shortcuts.
- Do the most important things exceptionally well, and the rest just ‘good enough’ or not at all.
- Develop your skills to be exceptional in a few targeted areas; don’t try to master everything.
- Realize that you can work less, stress less, and increase your happiness by figuring out the 20 percent of goals and activities that are most important to you.”
That’s Today’s +1.
How can YOU apply the 80/20 principle to your life?
Let’s do that.