This principle has had such an impact on my thinking that when I decided to set up my own company it even influenced the name!
Let's look at 4 areas where 80/20 can help you:
We all have lots to do, lots of everyday commitments and jobs to complete. Some of it is necessary some of it definitely is not. How about spending more time on those things that rally matter? The things that get you closer to your goals and improve your life.
80/20 thinking and regular 80/20 analysis helps us here by forcing us to focus on the big rocks that make the most impact. Clearing the unnecessary to make room for the necessary.
Review what you do on a daily and weekly basis. Is it helping or hindering you? Does it need to be done? If not, could it be dropped? Zero in on your most productive tasks and focus on them relentlessly. Focus is often followed by success.
20% of your customers will provide 80% of your income/profit/challenge/enjoyment.
Not all of us make a direct income from clients but we all have customers/people we provide a service to. 80/20 thinking can help us identify and target the most valued customers, the ones that give us the most back from dealings with them.
This helps clarify your thinking, approach and strategy. Think about ways you can focus more on your best customers, the ones that provide the most income, least headache and most interesting and challenging work.
Identify and target the customers that matter and you may be able to forget the rest!
This ties in with no 1 on this list but is worthy of its own place as well,
It's quite possible that 80% of what you spend your time doing in a traditional work setting doesn't matter much!
Email flying backwards and forwards, drafting documents no one will read, gossiping by the water cooler, shifting responsibility for decision making (sloping shoulder syndrome). Just another average day for some. Is this really a great use of your time?
Use80/20 thinking to ensure your attention is focused on the tasks that matter and arrange your time and day accordingly (this may mean getting to your desk early and front ending the important for example).
Ask yourself continuously, are you spending your time focused on work that matters and will make an impact or on busywork?
There is a distinct difference.
Most are a waste of time at best (perhaps even more than 80% of them!). Avoid them if and where you can and ensure the ones you do attend are worth your attendance and you have a clear idea of what the objective of the meeting actually is. Too many people that really should know better spend most of their careers in meetings that don't matter and achieve little at best.
Don't be one of them. Ensure the meetings that you attend and run yourself sparkle and achieve their objective.
These are just four very quick ways 80/20 thinking and application can start to make a positive impact in your business lives. However, 80/20 thinking can be applied to anything in life and once you start to use it and clear way for those things that really matter to you there's no turning back.