The 80/20 Rule

Effort & results are rarely returned in equal amounts. Focus your energy on the 20% of actions that produce 80% of your results.

The sooner we discover which actions yield the highest return, the sooner we stop wasting precious time on the majority (8/10) of what can be discarded.

Your goal is to find the vital 20%!

Belief is the biggest influence on whether we actually take action on the knowledge we obtain.

There are easy things to do and there are hard things to do… we usually gravitate towards the easy things to do, but the problem is, the easy things usually chew up 80% of your time, yet only produce 20% of your results.  The hard things are likely the 20% of the things you can do (but don’t because they are hard or uncomfortable) yet result in 80% of your results.

Ever notice it’s the last 20% of a project that is often the hardest? And that last 20% never seems to get done, thus you’ve wasted 80% of your effort for no result!

8020 = it’s doing the right 20%. It’s spending 80% of your effort in 20% of the areas.

It may take you 2 hours to figure something out. This is the ‘hard and uncomfortable’ I’m talking about.

The beauty is that you only have to focus on 2 things instead of 10 when you figure this out!

More often, it's the hard (& uncomfortable) things that are the vital 20%. It’s the easy things we spend 80% of our time – unfortunately, those are the things that usually only produce 20% of the results.

There are easy things to do and there are hard things to do… we usually gravitate towards the easy things to do, but the problem is, the easy things usually chew up 80% of your time, yet only produce 20% of your results. The hard things are likely the 20% of the things you can do (but don’t because they are hard or uncomfortable) yet result in 80% of your results.

Using 8-up to implement 80/20

On your 8UP, write down the 20% task in the first box. Write down what you actually work on the other boxes. That first box is a constant reminder of what you SHOULD be dedicating at least 96 minutes on each day (see below).

80/20 applied to client work

My clients pay me to identify and focus on the vital 20%. If I only have 8 hours/month to work on their stuff, there's no time to burn on the the trivial 80%! In fact, this is the best reason to hire a consultant... given their experience, they are better positioned to identify the vital 20% and save you from wasting time on the trivial 80%.

Determining the 20%

This is the hard part. What activities reflect the vital 20% for your prime objective? What is your prime objective?

Related

The 96-minute rule (8 hours per week)

96 minutes is 20% of an 8 hour work day. 96 mins x 5 days = 8 hours.

8 hours is 480 minutes. 480 * .2 = 96.

Set aside 96 minutes each day to work on what you've identified as the key 20% in your job. If you spend just 8 hours/week on the right tasks, you'll win the week.

Credit to Randy Mayeux who came up with the rule by calculating 20% of an eight-hour work day. The 96-minute rule is fairly congruent with management expert Peter Drucker’s claim that 90 minutes is the smallest effective time period required for meaningful knowledge work.

The effects of distraction on productivity have been demonstrated in a number of research studies. A study by Basex, a research firm based in New York, found that workers were distracted or interrupted, on average, every 11 minutes and that it took them an average of 25 minutes to return to their original tasks.

You need to block out 96 minutes each day of uninterrupted time. I've created a new side on my Timeular to track my time - and the beauty of timeular is that I'll get an email at the end of the week revealing whether or not I spent the min. time on my critical tasks!

Ideally - 96 mins/day x 5 = 480 minutes (8 hours).

This goes to prove - it's not a 4 hour workweek Tim Ferris writes about (who is also a bit fan of the 80/20 rule), but rather an 8 hour workweek that can lead us to create a career that gives us the lifestyle he talks about.

Further Reading

http://www.pinnicle.com/Articles/Pareto_Principle/pareto_principle.html

https://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/Pareto-principle