80% Rule of Productivity and Life
hyperactivity vs. productivity
Work Smarter, not harder: 80/20 Pareto's Law
from The Four Hour Workweek
"A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone."
-Henry David Thoreau
Vilfredo Pareto was a wily and controversial economist-cum-sociologist who lived from 1848 to 1923, An engineer by training, he started his varied career managing coal mines and later succeeded Leon Walras as the chair of political economy at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland. His seminal work, cours d'economie politique, included a then little-explored "law" of income distribution that would later bear his name: "Pareto's Law" or the "Pareto Distribution," in the last decade also popularly called the "80/20 Principle."
The mathematical formula he used to demonstrate a grossly uneven but predictable distribution of wealth in society - 80% of the wealth and income was produced and possessed by 20% of the population - also applied outside of economics. Indeed, it could be found almost everywhere. Eighty percent of Pareto's garden peas were produced by 20% of the peapods he had planted, for example.
Pareto's Law an be summarized as follows: 80% of the outputs result from 20% of the inputs. Alternative ways to phrase this, depending on the context, include:
80% of the consequences flow from 20% of the causes.
80% of the results come from 20% of the effort and time.
80% of company profits come from 20% of the products and customers.
80% of all stock market gains are realized by 20% of the investors and 20% of an individual portfolio.
-The 4-Hour Workweek
Being busy is not the same as being productive.
Forget about the start-up overwork ethic that people wear as a badge of honor - get analytical. The 80/20 principle, also known as Pareto's Law, dictates that 80% of your desired outcomes are the result of 20% of your activities or inputs. Once per week, stop putting out fires for an afternoon and run the numbers (even if mentally) to ensure you're placing effort in high-yield areas:
What are 20% of customers/products/regions producing 80% of the profit?
What are the factors that could account for this?
Invest in duplicating your few strong areas instead of fixing all of your weaknesses.
Fat-free performance and time freedom begin with limiting intake overload. The real breakfast of champions: The Low-Information diet.
Be ruthless to cut the fat.
FIRE HIGH MAINTENANCE CUSTOMERS: Not all customers are created equal. Apply the 80/20 principle to time consumption: What 20% of people are consuming 80% of your time?
PROFITABILITY OFTEN REQUIRES BETTER RULES AND SPEED, NOT MORE TIME.
FAST DECISIONS PRESERVE USABLE ATTENTION FOR WHAT MATTERS.
ACCOMPLISH MORE BY DOING LESS.
BEING AFFECTIVE DOESN'T MEAN BEING SERIOUS ALL THE TIME.
ELIMINATE BEFORE YOU DELEGATE.
REFINE RULES AND PROCESSES BEFORE ADDING PEOPLE.
BEING ABLE TO QUIT THINGS THAT DON'T WORK IS INTEGRAL TO BEING A WINNER.
THERE IS A DIRECT CORRELATION BETWEEN AN INCREASED SPHERE OF COMFORT AND GETTING WHAT YOU WANT.
Mandy Zelinka is the former Digital Marketing Manager for KEVIN.MURPHY International and owned one of the largest award-winning salons in Portland, Oregon. She was also Voted Best Hairstylist in Portland in 2016 by The Portland Fashion + Style Awards.
But she’s best known for tobogganing down the Great Wall of China as a United States Diplomat and First Lady of a City.