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80/20 Principle — How do you spend YOUR time?

Have you ever really thought about how you spend your time during the day? I do…just about every day. In fact, it’s been bugging me recently. I’ve been wondering why I am so darn busy every day, yet not seeming to get as much done as I’d like to, and as much as I used […]

Have you ever really thought about how you spend your time during the day? I do…just about every day. In fact, it’s been bugging me recently.

I’ve been wondering why I am so darn busy every day, yet not seeming to get as much done as I’d like to, and as much as I used to. I’m wondering if you’re feeling the same way.

Sometimes, the answers to the big questions of life are tough. This one turned out to be easy, though.

At the recommendation (actually, constant prodding) by friend and mentor Perry Marshall, I began reading a book called the 80/20 Principle, by Richard Koch. Perry has been writing about the principle, and the myriad of ways he applies it to his business, for a couple years now.

I’ll admit from the start that “there are none so righteous as the newly converted,” but I’ve learned something very valuable that I want to share with you.

If you’re at all like me, you already are familiar with the principle. It simply says that 80% of your results come from 20% of your efforts. Also…

  • 80% of your income results from 20% of your efforts
  • 80% of your income comes from the sales of 20% of your products
  • 80% of your revenue comes from 20% of your customers
  • 80% of your time is spent on 20% of your tasks
  • 80% of your headaches come from 20% of your “problems”

It may sound improbable that this ratio always exists, and you’d be right. The important part of the 80/20 rule is not that it’s always 80 and always 20. In fact, the two numbers don’t even need to add up to 100, because they measure different things.

For example, it could be that 90% of your income comes from 20% of your customers. Or that 65% of your income comes from 5% of your product sales. The exact relationship doesn’t matter, at least for the most important lesson you can learn from this principle.

What does matter is that your time, effort, focus, and attention are better spent on a small fraction of what you currently spend them on. It also teaches that if you adjust your efforts, and spend your time focusing on the 20% that yields the 80%, you can do two very magical things.

First, if you choose to, you can abandon the 80% of your current effort at the cost of only 20% of the results. That means that if you’re stressed out working 50 hours a week and making $10,000 a month, far too busy to have any fun or enjoy your family or friends, you can instead work 10 hours a week, get by on $8,000 a month, and spend the remaining 30 hours a week on whatever you want.

(That’s not a bad idea!)

The other bit of magic that the 80/20 rule reveals is this: Let’s say you focus on the 20% of activities that make you money. In fact, you double your efforts in those specific areas. The result would be that you’re now working only 40% as hard as you did before, but earning 160% (two times 80%) what you did before.

I’m sure you’ve heard people promising you their systems so you can “work less, make more”…well, that’s how it’s done.

And here’s something else that’s fascinating about the 80/20 rule:

  • 80% of your happiness comes from 20% of your time.

That’s kinda sad, isn’t it?

Think about it for a moment: Don’t you deserve to be happy 100% of the time? Well, chances are, it’s not working out for you that way.

The 80/20 principle can fix that for you.

I’m in the process of abandoning a project that I’d been working on for several months. It just wasn’t providing me the returns of happiness, revenue and fulfillment that I wanted. I was spending my time doing tasks that I wasn’t good at and didn’t enjoy, and it was taking up a large majority of my time.

Worst of all, it was keeping me from helping YOU.

So now that I’ve dumped most of my responsibilities for that project, it’s no coincidence that yesterday seemed like the longest day of the year for me. I had time to spare.

I found myself looking for things to do. I’m making lists of high-value things I’ve neglected, and making new lists for some new, higher leverage projects I’m working on.

Sharing what I know with you will be one of the things I’ll be doing more of. I hope you’ll appreciate that.

And something else I’m working on is a project with “The Professor” Jim Stone, the split-testing uber-guru, and creator of the Split Test Accelerator software. I’ll tell you more about this new project later (it’s gonna be COOL, especially if you’re an internet marketer and you want to work less and make more).

But back to my original question: How do you spend your time?

And more importantly, how can you change how you spend your day to increase your happiness, increase your revenue, or both?

Do you know the 80/20 principle? If not, go get the book and read it (or listen to it on Audible.com).

If you DO know the 80/20 principle, how will you change what you do each day to help yourself make more money, release stress, and be more fulfilled?

You deserve a little more freedom, a little more happiness, and a little more money.

And so do I.

Let’s get started!

To Your Success,

–Mark Widawer

5 replies on “80/20 Principle — How do you spend YOUR time?”

I can already say that this is not just theory. Since reading about the principle a few years back, I would certainly agree that this kind of thinking can help you very much.
Bottom line is: You also need the guts and determination to follow the good 20% and kick the rest!

Best Regards to you Mark
.-= NicoAppel´s last blog ..75 Das letzte Coaching =-.

Reading through your blog was like having a EUREKA! moment in slow-mo. This principle just opened up in me a whole new way of looking at things. I believe I have some long overdue self-assessments waiting.

This has been priceless Mark, thanks and more power!

Yes, the 80/20 principle (Pareto principle) has been known for about 100 years. The only question is: if we all know that 80% of the results come from 20% of our efforts, why spend *any* time on the other 80%?

Of course, sometimes things aren’t quite so cut and dried. How about those activities which initially “seem” non-productive, but which actually affect the 20% of activities which are productive? Hmmm…

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