Focus on your best assets and use them to create maximum value. This is the core principle behind the 80/20 rule. And it has helped businesses grow their revenues. Or individuals make the most out of their productive hours.
You’re curious about how you can apply it in your life. So let me share my take on how you can use the 80/20 rule, also known as the Pareto Principle, in five life domains: relationships, finances, hobbies, work, and business.
1. The People You Spend Time With
Applying the Pareto Principle in your relationships is quite tricky. There are emotions, attitudes, contexts, and other things you have to consider. At the same time, just because 20% of the people you spend time with make you the happiest doesn’t mean the rest is invaluable.
I’d like to put a twist, if you will, on the typical understanding of the 80/20 rule. Instead of identifying individuals, I’m starting with circles. These circles include my family, closest friends, work friends, startup founders network, tech geeks club, etc. Then, I’m going to ask which of these circles are bringing 80% of the value in my life?
That value is entirely subjective. I’m investing in various businesses, so my startup founders group is very important on my list right now. I also need a strong support system, and that’s composed of my family and closest friends. So my top 20% include these circles.
Now, what happens to the rest? Of course, I’m not going to avoid them and cancel all my commitments. They are humans, not things. But when it comes to saying no, I’m most likely going to turn down invites from the 80%. I’ll make an exception for those who are part of the 20% of these remaining circles.
And that’s my last point for this section. Identify the top 20% of people in the circles belonging to your 80%. If it’s your kid’s school, maybe these are the 2 or 3 parents you often interact with. If it’s your gym, your instructor and another buddy could be the top candidates. If it’s a religious community, the spiritual leader. You get the drift.
2. The Things You Buy
This part relates to money management. If you follow the 50/30/20 rule, you know this is the stuff adulting is made of. Quickly: This rule requires you to allot 50% of your monthly income to needs. Then 30% goes to wants while 20% automatically adds to savings.
So now you have 80% of your money being spent on things that are sustaining you at present. Meaning, you’re getting your end of the trade-off right away. You pay your utility bills, your electricity and water supplies keep your household running. And so does paying your mortgage. You increase your equity each time you pay the exact dues on time.
When viewed through the 80/20 rule, a good part of your spending is made for maximizing your value either through home ownership or basic needs management. This is like pointing out the obvious. But there are people who find it difficult to pay off debts because of wrong priorities. So using the Pareto Principle as a lens to understand the 50/30/20 rule may help them.
3. The Hobbies You Have
Be honest. What are your hobbies? And how many hours a day do you spend on them? Don’t worry, I’m not going to scold you because you binge-watch Netflix or play video games all day on Saturdays. We usually think about hobbies as harmless activities. But the 80/20 rule may have a different say on this.
If this principle is about maximizing value with your best assets, shouldn’t you be using your free time to do things that will nourish your body, mind, and soul? In this age of productivity, the time you can set aside for doing “nothing” is absolutely precious. Is Netflix going to maximize the value of your time? If you said yes, I would not argue that.
But look, what if you devote an hour to treating your loved one to a massage? Or finally learn how to play the piano? Or cuddle with your pet? Or study programming, investing, or the like? The activity depends on your definition of valuable. The 80/20 rule is just a reminder to make the most of those “free” hours.
4. The Hours You Put Into Work
The 80/20 Principle can also be applied to work productivity! Mark Manson wrote an awesome article about it. And he started by acknowledging that not all jobs are created equal. That means if you’re doing menial labor every day, the idea that working two hours produces twice the output as working an hour pretty much applies.
But when it comes to doing creative work, you’re more likely to be working for diminishing returns the more you slave away at your laptop. That is, you don’t produce twice the output by working 16 hours instead of 8. In fact, you’re going to make a minimal impact in the last 8 hours.
Sometimes, it would be better if you did nothing in those times. Why? Because those extra hours you’re putting in leaves you vulnerable to making bad choices and decisions. Then you’re going to work on fixing the bad stuff the next day. And so you’re now working for negative returns. The Pareto Principle is all about making the best use of your best hours. That’s how you produce great work!
5. The Clients You Accommodate/Customers You Target
If you’re running a company, it’s easy to fall into the trap of saying yes to everyone. You don’t want to pass up an opportunity. So you’re practically donating your services to someone. This is the same for solopreneurs or anyone who’s starting out in business.
Why don’t we use the 80/20 rule to help you maximize your opportunities?
According to the Pareto rule, 80% of your revenue comes from 20% of your clients. Let’s look at your clients as assets. If these 20% are your best assets, what characteristics do they have in common? Once you’ve figured out the answer, you should start looking for clients with similar characteristics.
This is the same for many businesses. You can apply the Pareto Principle in targeting new customers. You look at your best-performing segment and profile the customers. And then you advertise or reach out to audiences like them.
The 80/20 rule has many applications in our life, whether it’s personal or professional. But remember, it’s not a hard-and-fast mathematical law. Your computation does not always have to be 80 to 20. Sometimes, it’s 85/15 or 75/25. And when you’re applying it to things like relationships, the numbers become highly subjective.
So when you’re starting to get confused, return to this guide. It may not answer all your questions. But it will help you find a safe ground to land on and begin again.
Ways to set up a Home Office
Day 1: ‘I am feeling lethargic today, maybe I’ll take rest for a while and resume after a few hours’
Day 2: ‘Don’t feel like working today’
Day 3: ‘Work from home is not productive at all! It was better when we could function in office’
Have you been experiencing this for the last few months?
Work from home can get boring and unproductive real quick and with changing times, this could be something companies resort to permanently.
So what’s the solution to not lose your work drive and keep working to your contentment?
Why not change your home workspace into a professional setting that gives you somewhat similar vibes as your in-office environment!
Well, read on!
To transform a small part of your house can be tedious but if the thought of strategically, can complement it well enough.
First things first – visualize how office spaces are built, most importantly the area where you used to sit in for hours and hours.
Got an idea? Now all you have to do is structure that into a smaller carpet area.
Decide on a location thereafter – where in the house do you want to set up your office. Make sure to be very particular when considering this because this has a major role in determining work focus and concentration. A corner, an entire room or just dividing the room into workspace and home is all to you and your comfort.
Usually, it is recommended to be in a remote area (like away from the kitchen) so to block any unnecessary noise.
Another thing to be cautious about is the amount of light that your chosen location has. With no proper lighting, the strain will increase and you might find it difficult to keep going.
What do companies do after building the space?
They settle on what furniture and equipment will be required to commence the activity.
Similarly, select your desk and chair wisely. You will want to need a chair that isn’t too hard nor is it too soft.
Too hard could make your back hurt and too soft can cause you to sit in a wrong position that’ll ultimately result in a backache. Ideally, a rolling chair is recommended because it’ll give you movement and comfort at the same time.
Coming to the size of your desk, it depends on if you want a longer one or a short desk would suffice. However, make sure that the workplace doesn’t look and feel too clustered because then your efficiency is what can be affected. Along with the size of the desk, it’s shaping also is equally significant. L-shaped, T-shaped or U-shaped or any other shape, that will look chic and be the perfect match to your location – judge appropriately.
While you are at it, keep in mind to place your desk in front of some view that will soothe your eyes. A pleasant scenery to look at acts as a relaxing tool for the mind and the eyes, giving you the refreshment you need during the job hours.
Have you noticed how your in-office cabin looked hassle-free and clean? That’s what exactly you want in your home office too, trust me. Wires tangled and plug loosely attached will definitely distract you and come in the way of smooth operation. So to avoid this, make sure you’ve proper connection and sockets for keeping your wires and plugs out of the way.
Moving continuously to fetch files and other important things can turn out to be time-wasting. To not lose out on productivity, you could have cabinets and drawers made around your desk or within the same area as is your workspace.
The office is not about just desk-work. There are visits and meetings and conferences too. Therefore, having an area dedicated to client meetings is necessary. Though if you feel that this is something that can be done without, it’s entirely your call.
Sitting in one place for about 8-9 hours every day can be monotonous. What can be worse is when the same to you sit in is bland and plain – just like a hospital ward. I am sure you don’t like that and certainly wouldn’t want your workplace to emulate the same!
Hence, decorate and paint!
Make your room look green to calm you or fill it with colors to keep you fresh, bright, and awake the entire day. If you didn’t know, colors very much influence your emotions.
Like I had mentioned before, changing interiors can be tedious but if strategically done, it can complement your home well enough. Considering that, you could design and decorate your home office according to your house and it’s color combinations. This will not only not erupt your interior but also make you feel safe and congenial making it easier for you to work.
In the end, whatever you read or see, go by what you feel is right and appropriate for your house and your surroundings. Do not place anything that isn’t required or is unnecessary and just keeps adding up your budget.
In an attempt to make your home office beautiful and classy, remember to not walk off the money line. Setting a workplace at home can be expensive but if done well within the monetary limit, you are sure to get elegant and reasonable decor.
Are you still reading?
Go! It’s time you start planning because you never know when offices might open up and you may be required to step out of your lazy workdays.
How Reading can impact your Day to Day Life?
Reading is a healthy habit, which, if practiced daily, can change your entire life around. Do you want to know why? Through Reading, one can not only gain knowledge but also stay acquainted with the outside as well as the inside world. The best thing about reading daily is to have an isolated place for yourself in your mind, where you can run off to. Most people don’t have the patience or intention to read, and that too, daily. Though this is a habit that takes time to settle in but trust me, once it does, you would never regret it. So, here is a list of reasons why you should read daily?
Why should you read daily?
- To gain knowledge
Once you start reading daily, and by Reading, it can be anything – you can read few pages of a novel, or a magazine, or newspaper, or even poetry – you would notice within weeks how much your knowledge regarding the outer world has improved. Through Reading, one can have clear information regarding the current affairs, and hence, stay updated.
- To improve your vocabulary
Through Reading, you can definitely learn new words and hence, improve your vocabulary. Most people make it a habit to learn a new word from the dictionary every day, but if you read daily, you are bound to get new words and make a list of them on a notebook with their meanings, which is definitely going to be helpful for you.
- To have a make-believe world
The most beautiful consequence of Reading is having one’s own imaginary world, where one can live a life full of magic. This is the extraordinary superpower one acquires while reading. In this busy daily life of ours, we all look for a secluded place where we can feel the essence of peace. Reading can fly you off to the imaginary land of sunflowers, daisies, and cats who can indeed talk.
- To become more attentive
Most people lack patience nowadays. Being impatient and restless has become a severe problem in today’s world. Here, Reading can help you calm your mind and improve your observation skills. It works like meditation. In no time, you would find your mind focusing on details and becoming more attentive to events, which used to go unnoticed.
- To reduce stress
Reading is similar to meditation, and hence, it definitely helps to reduce your stress. Books always have a calming effect on one’s mind. It takes you away from daily problems and stressful situations and helps your mind to gain stability. Not only it helps in reducing stress, but it also helps to decrease the anxiety levels of a person.
Everyone should make reading a daily habit. One should switch off the mobile phones, turn off the television and take some time out to read. It works wonders on one’s day-to-day life and changes one person’s entire personality. Though it can be hard at first, with time, you would cherish the moments alone, reading in a corner while your mind is flying off to Narnia.
The Pressure of this Epidemic: Should we take it Slow or Get your Productivity Game on
The race has begun, the race of life doesn’t stop even during quarantine or lockdown. It still continues when an epidemic is on the loose. Students all across were expected to continue working, office resumed productivity, and homemakers had it worse as their routine doubled.
Opening social media, flooded with images, videos and posts of people baking, drawing, learning a new instrument, learning new wilderness survival skills and working out, seems to be filled with energy. You look and you browse and you want to be filled with those emotions as those celebrities, friends, or influencers who seem to have figured a way to keep pushing through this pandemic. You imagine and daydream about a banana bread recipe you should try or that hype around the Dalgona coffee. You feel a sense of distance and anxiety, a fear of missing out. So you try, you try to push yourself, install tik-tok, and practice a common dance routine, decide to post it to establish that you are doing something too, you aren’t just lying around. There is this common unquestioned idea that when you are free and have time on your hand you should continue working, never waste time by just sitting down, or watching a show relaxing. This notion has been instilled and we as individuals are conditioned to feel that if you aren’t doing anything in your free time you are wasting time, not getting ahead in the horse race of this world. But, in lockdown and the current situation is tiring to comprehend. A state of panic and anxiety of the future, the fear of the virus and the death tools, fear of the contention of the world around. In all this, you feel obligated to be motivated and productive. To show that you have some value attributed to yourself even during a lockdown.
Productivity is often measured by documenting and showcases it to other people. In this day and age where social media has taken over our lives, where everyone posts their lives online to show what they are up to. It helps take your mind off things, keeps you engaged. Not everyone needs to cope with the pandemic the same way, the hustle has been romanticized by capitalist society. Where one has to keep on their toes. So many of us have received links, or advertisements to push us into starting something new. Not many people talk about how it is okay to just not do anything and take it slow. Not realizing that the conventional definition of being busy doesn’t necessarily have to be productive in nature. Our time has become monetized, every passing minute one has to do something,
When one is taking it slow and not pushing themselves into burning out they too are being productive. This can be said because they are introspective and reflecting upon themselves. Working towards rebuilding by taking it slow, relaxing as the times are tough. Lockdowns make one feel trapped as you have no social contact. One starts to feel the need for validation and added value to themselves. This is obtained by documenting and showing their productivity on social media. The competition to show how busy you are and how you have coped with this pandemic, but in reality, many are struggling. There has been an increase in problems like insomnia, backaches, headaches, feeling nauseated, and eventually leading to burnout. With the increasing fear and uncertainty about our future, there needs to be a period to pause and retrospect. It is completely acceptable to take your time off, as that too is a form of productivity for yourself. The idea that physical work attributes to your productivity levels is a notion that makes one forget about themselves. Taking care of yourself and taking the time off thinking and just take it one day at a time. The pandemic has led to work from home bases for both students and working individuals. Hence with the effect of the pandemic and the working situation, this pressure to be productive is an added factor for them to feel demotivated and isolated further. Apart from that parents and homemakers, have been burning out and need a means to just relax and have time off for themselves away from societal pressure.
Social media is a great tool to feel connected to this pandemic, but with this, it also brings in the pressure of being at the same level as everyone. One starts to feel “if they can do it so can I”. The energy and exertion both mentally and physically are draining, the constant juggle, and trying to draw a line with your various social groups sitting from home. The pandemic adds extra responsibility, in terms of taking care of your family, friends neighbors thinking about your work, and how to run your home. That is why with these added pressures you can decide for yourself what works best for you, being productive by following daily trends help you relax and cope with the situation then that is great. On the contrary, if you feel drained and are feeling extinguished from the pressure, then it is best to take it slow, relax as thinking, and working on yourself is a form of work too.
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