Unleashing the power of the 80/20 principle: Achieve more with less effort

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December 9th, 2023 — Stevin Lipp

You ever notice how the most successful people you know seem to be pulling it off so effortlessly? It’s because they are doing it by not working as hard as you.  Well, technically they are working at least 5x harder/smarter than you 20% of the time according to this principle.

Understanding the 80/20 principle

The 80/20 Principle, also known as the Pareto Principle, introduces a perspective most of us aren’t ready to hear—roughly 80% of your outcomes stem from just 20% of your efforts. In simpler terms, a focused fraction of your actions can yield a majority of your desired results. This principle, if applied correctly, has the potential to change the outlook for any person, business, or organization. 

To drive this point home, let’s consider the realm of studying. Typically, about 20% of the material you cover is likely to account for a substantial 80% of the questions you’ll encounter. Now, apply this to your wardrobe – chances are, you find yourself gravitating towards the same 20% of your clothes approximately 80% of the time. Apply the same concept to the efficiencies in your workouts, how you spend your money, or really just about anything. The patterns are revealing, aren’t they?

Believe it or not, this principle is also backed by math. I won’t go into the details of that math equation because I’m no mathematician. But you math gurus out there are welcome to do some research & test the equation. That part was all a little over my head, but please do share your findings!

It’s important to note that 80/20 is just a starting number. Results can vary on a number of factors. For example, in the United States, the top 20% of wealthiest people in the nation own a little less than 90% of the accumulated wealth in the entire nation. I personally describe this principle as a ‘Law of the Universe’, but the exact numbers do fluctuate.

Applying the principle in your life

Now, let’s transition from theory to application. Recognizing and leveraging the 80/20 Principle empowers you to supercharge your productivity and effectiveness. Start by conducting a comprehensive assessment of your tasks, goals, or projects. Identify the critical 20% that generates the lion’s share of impactful outcomes. By prioritizing and optimizing your efforts in these key areas, you set the stage for amplified success across various facets of your life.

Put these steps into action:

  1. Assessment: Take a detailed inventory of your tasks, goals, & projects. Start with projects the top. Underneath you put the goals that will help you complete that project the way you intend in a timely manner. Underneath those goals, you will then put the tangible tasks required for you to complete those goals. 
  2. Identification: Once you have that all laid in front of you, it will be easier to decide which tasks have the most substantial impact in helping you achieve your goals. 
  3. Prioritization: Direct more energy into the identified high-impact task (Maybe 80% of time on the high-impact task, and 20% on the low-impact task is a good place to start 😉 )
  4. Elimination: Contemplate cutting or delegating low-value tasks out to conserve your valuable time.
  5.  Reflection: Establish a consistent routine to review & adjust your focus based on your newfound insights. 

Real life benefits

The beauty of implementing the 80/20 Principle unfolds in a myriad of benefits. Imagine a life with reduced stress, heightened efficiency, and more time for activities that truly bring you joy. You’re essentially positioning yourself to achieve more with less effort – a goal we all aspire to reach. 

This principle has allowed me to spend more time with my loved ones, open a business with six figures in revenue, be in the best shape of my life while working out the least amount I ever have, work a full-time job, and still have enough time to write this blog post. 

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