Does The 80/20 Rule Apply To Your Life

I think everyone wants to find a way to work less but produce more.  I am not sure if that is completely possible; however, if you apply an economic principal to your everyday life, you may find that you can improve your quality of life, which, in turn, will probably make you feel as if you are working less to achieve contentment.  This may sound like a bunch of “malarkey” (as my father would call it); however, it does have a solid foundation in mathematics and economics.  You just need to learn to transition that into other aspects of your life.   What is the 80/20 rule?   The “Pareto principle,” otherwise known as the 80/20 rule is named after an Italian mathematician, Vilfredo Pareto.  Pareto observed that 80% of the wealth in Italy was owned by 20% of the population.  He also noted that 20% of his garden’s pea plants produced 80% of the peas that grew.  Thereafter was born the concept that 80% of any results come from 20% of inputs.  While this applies to economic principals, it can also apply to your life.   How to apply the 80/20 rule to your life.   No one is perfect.  If we try to be perfect in everything we do, we will quickly become burned out, discouraged and ready to give up.  However, if we apply the 80/20 rule, we can remain focused, motivated and productive in everything we do.

  • Exercise – Think of your exercise routine.  There will be times when we want to skip exercise and that is okay.  However, if you commit to completing 80% of your exercise routine each week, you will probably exercise more than if you leave it up to how you feel each day.
  • Diet – Commit to eating healthy foods and making healthy food choices 80% of the time.  The remaining 20% can be for those times when you really want dessert or an order of fries.
  • Relationships – Look at your circle of friends and family - - who gives you the most pleasure, gives you more energy and uplifts your day as opposed to those who cause you added stress just to spend time with them.  The friends and family that bring joy and fulfillment to your life should receive 80% of the time you have to spend socializing.  
  • Budget – Track your spending habits with regard to your discretionary spending for 30 days.  Categorize your spending habits to analyze the value of each expense with the utility or satisfaction it brought to you.  Apply the 80/20 rule by spending 80% of your discretionary budget on what brings you the most enjoyment and you receive the most value for your dollar.

Our lives are sometime overflowing with obligations, goals, work and a million other things that pull us in several directions at once.  By applying the 80/20 rule to our lives, we can work more efficiently to get the most out of our efforts each day.   Image credit: Purple Sherbet Photography