The Pareto Principle: How to Completely Transform Your Life

What if someone were to tell you that it was possible to 10x your fitness results by following one simple rule? What if you knew that applying this principle also could have you generating thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of dollars more per year in income? What if that same straightforward concept could help youcompletely transform your personal, professional, and social lives, not to mention skyrocket your overall health and happiness? Yes, such a principle actually exists — it’s called the Pareto principle.

The Pareto principle is also known as the law of the vital few; the principle of factor sparsity; and, most famously, the 80/20 rule. In simple terms, the 80/20 rule says that 80% of the effects (results) come from only 20% of the causes (effort). The concept is named after Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto who published a paper in 1896 documenting how 80% of the land in Italy was owned by only 20% of the population. Fascinatingly, Pareto replicated this study in several neighboring countries and found the exact same outcome!

But the 80/20 rule doesn’t just apply to wealth distribution — it applies to virtually every aspect of our lives. In business, it’s commonly said that 80% of sales come from 20% of customers. 80% of all accidents are caused by only 20% of the drivers on the road. And 80% of all sports awards are nabbed by only 20% of competitive athletes.

Here’s a graphic depiction of how the 80/20 rule plays out in your day-to-day life:

That’s right: Nearly 4/5 of your day is WASTED on tasks that do nothing to advance your goals. Pretty unbelievable, huh?

Now, the whole idea behind the Pareto principle is to achieve more by working less. In other words, if you can identify the crucial 20% of tasks that are actually contributing to your success, you can focus on those tasks and quit spending time on inefficient, meaningless ones. If you concentrate on the 20% of customers who have bought from your small business once, twice, maybe even three times, you can stop blowing marketing dollars on people who won’t generate you money. And if you segregate out the 20% of friends, acquaintances, and coworkers who are positive influences in your life, you can spend more time with them and less time with the people who don’t make you better.

From My Direct Iteration.

Fortunately, applying the Pareto principle doesn’t have to be that hard. Here’s an easy three-step strategy to make the 80/20 rule start working for you IMMEDIATELY:

  1. Create a list of the tasks you perform over the course of a single day.
  2. Try to link each of those tasks to a short- or long-term goal.
  3. If you can’t describe how a particular task helps advance one of your goals, put a line through it.

If you do this exercise for a week, you’ll quickly come to realize which activities are worth focusing on and which need to get the ax. Once you’ve begun to cut the extraneous 80%, you’ll find that you free up much more time for the productive tasks and tasks you may have never even thought of. At that point, the yellow brick road to success in all aspects of your life will really start to unfold.

Let me know what you think of this piece and if it helped you!

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