The Italian economist Pareto was the creator of one of the most widely known principles in business circles, known simply as the 80/20 Rule.
Originally, Pareto discovered the rule when he noticed that 80 percent of the wealth was owned by 20 percent of the population.
But since then people have realized the principle works quite accurately for all sorts of things, from the theory that 80 percent of your business complaints come from 20 percent of your customers, to 80 percent of your revenue is generated by 20 percent of your sales items, for example.
The 80/20 rule is so effective, in fact, that you can easily apply it to almost any area of your life to create more of anything -- more free time, increased income, more enjoyment…
This article spells out 20 truly unique ways of putting this productivity-generating rule to work for you, in all areas of your life. Some of my personal favorites include:
1. Food: Record your eating habits for a week, and calculate the amount of calories for the different items of foods and snacks. You may be surprised to find how you’re “spending” your daily calorie intake. Some treats can contribute a very high percentage of calories for pitiful nutritional value, whereas other foods offer loads of nutrition for just a fraction of your caloric intake.
Naturally, once you know which 20 percent of foods contribute 80 percent of “empty” calories, you can easily improve your diet by slashing the high-calorie offenders, and replacing them with more high-nutrition varieties.
2. Personal Satisfaction: If personal life satisfaction ranks high on your list, then you may want to take this one for a spin. Create a time log of your daily activities for an entire day. Divide the various activities into categories. Then, review your list to see which of these categories add to your productivity, entertainment, or personal happiness.
You may find that, here too, about 80 percent of your enjoyment comes from about 20 percent of your daily activities. If any of the categories do not add something to your life, then cross it off your list of to-do’s, delegate it, or just say “no,” and use your new-found spare time to do more of the things that actually add value.
3. Relationships: Take a look at your relationships, whether social acquaintances or close friends. Do a rough estimate of how much time and energy you invest in each relationship, and compare it to the amount of stress or satisfaction you receive. You might find that some relationships give you far more “value for your investment” than others.
4. RSS Feeds: Look through your feeds list and write down the percentage of articles you enjoyed, or got useful information from, out of the last 10 in the feed. Eliminating the feeds with the lowest percentages can greatly reduce the time you spend reviewing feeds, and increase the value you get from them.
And, for even more great tips on increasing your effectiveness and personal satisfaction, browse through the links below. Perhaps you know a person or two who could use some encouragement or inspiration as well, so don‘t be shy about using the "Email to a Friend" button!
Scott H. Young June 5, 2007