We asked Courtney Ramirez to be our Awesome Apprentice; she’s taking the 52 Weeks to Awesome course and will be writing us a post at the end of each month to share her experiences with us.
Five Ways to Make the 80/20 Rule Work for You
This month’s lessons were all about increasing your awesomeness in profound ways. At this point in the course, I’ve been busting through old patterns, releasing negative ways of thinking and approaching the world in a more awesome way.
But now it’s time to up the ante.
If you’re familiar with the Pareto Principle, you know that you can expect 80% of the results from 20% of your efforts. It applies to other things in life as well; for example, 80% of your enjoyment comes from 20% of your activities.
If you want to see more good stuff in your life, you need to focus on the 20% that is getting you the good stuff in the first place.
So this month I tried to put the 80/20 rule (aka the Pareto Principle) to work in as many ways as possible. Here are a few ideas to get you started!
With your kids.
This may be controversial, but it’s the norm in our house – we focus on the 20% of the rules that are actually get results. Cookies before lunch? It doesn’t really affect the big picture as much as brushing teeth or playing nicely together.
It wasn’t until this month’s lessons that I realized that we’d been naturally applying the 80/20 rule to the way we parent.
With your entertainment.
How much television do you watch each week and really enjoy? With streaming content like Hulu or Netflix, you can pick what you want to watch the most – drop the 80% you don’t love and focus on the 20% you do!
Stop yourself from turning the television on for no reason. Plan your viewing habits – and you’ll not only enjoy what you watch more, you’ll gain more time because you’re cutting out the junk.
With your online communities.
How many forums do you belong to? Social networks? How much value are you really getting out of them?
Although it may feel like spending time in forums or on social media is valuable, 80% of your time is actually being wasted.
Focus on the 20% of connections and friends that make the most difference in your life!
With your eating habits.
We all know that eating more vegetables, avoiding fast food, and drinking more water is important to health. But getting everything just right all of the time can be a pain.
I used to go into a tailspin of fried food whenever I slipped up, but now I apply this 80/20 rule: I get 80% of the results from the 20% of the time that I focus intently on my diet. (And, of course, I try to do my best the rest of the time.)
If you’re working on self-improvement, the intense amount of change that you need to undertake is often overwhelming!
But you can apply the 80/20 rule to yourself, too.
Start with the 20% that is causing you the most trouble. Maybe it’s a relationship problem you need to sort out. Maybe you need to focus on a particular career problem. Maybe it’s time you started working on your fitness. Whatever the biggest issue you’re facing, tackle that first – and you’ll get 80% of the awesome right away!
After all, you can’t change the world overnight – but you can make a lot of progress if you step forward 20% at a time!
Courtney Ramirez is a content, seo and marketing superhero consultant by day and geeky BBC sitcom watching mom and wife by night. When not developing carpal tunnel by writing for her clients or playing the Sims, she’s homeschooling two girls and toying around with the idea of starting a new blog. You can follow her on Twitter.