#162 The 80/20 Principle

What Works? Do More of That

Once upon a time (1897 to be precise), an Italian economist named Vilfredo Pareto was studying wealth and income distribution in England. He discovered that a small percentage of individuals owned the majority of land and wealth.

In fact, 20% of the population controlled 80% of the wealth and income.

On further analysis, mythical lore says that he found that this principle held true not only in different countries and different time periods, but also in places like his garden—where he discovered that 20% of his peapods yielded 80% of the peas that were harvested!

Since our pal Vilfredo identified the trend, many researchers have been busy pointing out some additional modern applications.

Here are a few fun ones:

– 20% of your carpet probably gets 80% of the wear
– 20% of streets account for 80% of the traffic
– 20% of beer drinkers consume 80% of the beer

OK. So, all of that’s nice, but how’s it relevant to Optimizing?

Well, the same ratios tend to apply to the rest of our lives.

In short, for our purposes: 20% of your behaviors are probably accounting for 80% of the goodness in your life.

The trick?

IDENTIFYING which 20%!!!

As Richard Koch tells us: “20% of what we do leads to 80% of the results; but 80% of what we do leads to only 20%. We are wasting 80% of our time on low-value outcomes.”

Which leads to this recommendation: “calm down, work less and target a limited number of very valuable goals where the 80/20 Principle will work for us.”

So, what “vital few” things are you doing that give you the most benefit?

For example, I can identify the few key behaviors I engage in that drive the whole show:

1. A Digital Sunset + “Shut-down complete!” that helps me spend quality time with the family and get a good night of sleep.
2. My Deep Work block in the morning that basically guarantees a productive day.
3. My sunrise Trail Work that gets me energized.

Those three key behaviors literally (!) drive most of my Optimizing show.

At least 80/20.

Today’s +1: How about you?

What are your THREE key behaviors that most help you Optimize?

1. ____________________________________________________
2. ____________________________________________________
3. ____________________________________________________

Fantastic.

Focus on those, 80-20-style!

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