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The 80/20 rule

First developed by an Italian economist in the mid-nineteenth century, the 80/20 rule, otherwise known as ‘Pareto Principle’, is often quoted by many. After recently talking to a client about the definition of insanity I decided to review my understanding of the principle and check if my activities were as focused as I could make them. Do I need to stop doing the ‘same things’ to supercharge my results?

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.” Albert Einstein

The principle states that 80% of the output (results) come from 20% of the input (activities). That top 20% makes the real difference. Brian Tracey explains it nicely in his video on the subject relating to productivity and goal setting. He says “There are a vital few and trivial many

Let’s apply this principle to a few larger areas of life and see

  1. Limited resources – We all have the same amount of time and for me, there never seems to be enough. Are you spending the right time on the activities which will give you the greatest results? How much time do you spend watching the TV; sorting out that filing cupboard; cleaning the garage out. These might seem to be important activities, but are they leading you to your number one goal. Are they making your life better?

  2. Clients – We don’t like to put all our eggs in one basket, but how are you making sure that your client relationship activities are focused on your most important clients. Do you keep your VIP’s feeling special or are you stretching yourself across too many clients/customers? You might be trying to do too much for one client rather than doing 1 or 2 things well for your whole client portfolio.

  3. Network and friendships – Do all your friendships and networks produce the same results? Are all your interactions with friends as rewarding as each other? Look at your acquaintances; who adds value to your life and who drains your energy? Which of your network add value to your business life? Which just seem to want to take?

  4. Goal setting – Lets look at our To Do Lists. If you anything like me, you have lots on the list. Where do you start with the list; on the “trivial many”? You say to yourself ‘I’ll just get a couple of small items done first before I start on the big task’. Or do you take the most important thing on the list, which will have the greatest impact and work on that?

Don’t just be a busy person, be a productive person. We all have days when we feel like we have been hectic, not stopped, but don’t seem to accomplish much. Let’s make sure we have less of these days. Don’t work or focus on the activities that have little or no value to your ultimate goal. Pick the 20% of your to do list that is going to have the greatest impact on your success. Start with these, focus on these activities, and don’t stop until you have achieved them.



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