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.
Why Do We Need Measurable Goals?
Measurable goals are the first step to setting a realistic goal. It is very important to have a clear idea of what you want so that you can have a proper plan as to what needs to be done to achieve that. When people aren’t dead set on achieving something is when they set vague goals and that gives them an out for not doing it.
Unrealistic goals can be goals with either no defining line as to when it can be considered as complete or goals that are way out of the realism of achieving them. In both cases, you are going to end up failing and, in turn, being demoralized go after the said thing again. Being ambitious is important and setting goals is important – the problem occurs when you overdo both of these things.
“All who have accomplished great things have had a great aim, have fixed their gaze on a goal which was high, one which sometimes seemed impossible.”
-Orison Swett Marden
Let’s start with the basics today – Why do we need to set goals?
“Man does not live by bread alone.” This is what Jesus says when Satan asks him to turn a stone into bread.
The world has discussed this popular maxim for over years. What does a man need to truly live?
The moment we are born, the society categorizes us, labels us, gives us a name and expects us to make our presence count. We are sent to school, then to college, all this to get a job and continue the same cycle with our children. But why do we need a job? We need a job to make our stay on this planet comfortable.
Some of you may interpret this statement as basic requirements one needs to lead a normal-ordinary life. But ‘bread’ stands for much more than just food, clothes and shelter. There is deeper meaning to the statement. There is a difference between living your life and merely existing.
We all have this phase in life when we are pressurized to choose our career options. We either go for engineering or medicine or maybe even law or accounts. This is the point where you should choose what you like rather than what would pay better in future. If you are passionate about your choice, then you would eventually find your way to success. Choose a path you are willing to travel despite all the hardships you experience on the way.
Some of you say you are not even clear with your passion. In that case list your talents and interests, weigh the pros and cons of each option and choose one.
There is always a way, a choice because 30 years from now you cannot afford to have regrets about the one thing which shaped your whole life. This is why goals are needed and to achieve them, measurable ones are the most logical way to go.
“Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.”
Measurable goals define a goal that is specific and measurable and that makes it more likely to be achieved.
Imagine having hundreds of immeasurable goals written down on your list – what do you think you are going to achieve or how many goals do you think you will be able to achieve? If I say I want to get a healthy body and that is my goal. Now, because I haven’t specified how much weight I need to lose in order to get to my desired weight, I cannot make a proper plan and I will not know when to stop or how dedicated I need to be. I will not be able to mark it as achieved and move on to another goal because this one will always linger in my mind as incomplete. Marking goals as achieved or complete is what drives up to aim for new ones.
This is why your goals need to be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound.
“The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.”
Best Ways to Deal With Self-Doubt
Self-doubt is an issue that a lot of us face. We don’t always need external factors to generate stress for us, we often do it ourselves. I have talked about how we give rise to self-doubt by comparing our journey to other people’s among other reasons. Today, I have Ellen Tran from ZyraKuma to tell you guys about the best ways to deal with self-doubt. Here’s what she has to say-
Have you ever felt like you’re just not good enough? Or you just want to run away from “fear of failure”? It’s ok! People deal with self-doubt plenty of times because it’s just a human thing we suffer from day to day.
The term “self-doubt” revolves around the mental state of feeling uncertainty or distrust within oneself (a.k.a. you). In easier terms, the feeling of rejection (“fear of failure”). A lack of low self-esteem delaying a certain action because you think you are “not good enough” for that certain thing based on lack of evidence.
Here’s an example of self-doubt: pretend you have a job in any creative industry. You’re about to do a presentation in like 15 minutes, and you’re all prepared. But at the last minute, your anxious mind is telling you all these negative thoughts like “I can’t do this!” “What if I end up embarrassing myself?” “What if no one likes my work?”. You’re there standing in a daze where you’re doubting your success and wanting to escape.
If you’re in a similar situation, don’t feel discouraged! Here are ways to deal with self-doubt.
1. Talk to a Close Family Member or Friend
It’s always good to talk to someone you trust who can be empathetic and non-judgemental (I’m probably talking about a therapist), but you can always talk to a trusted friend or a family member.
Back then, I was at my lowest of lows after being rejected from job applications after job applications. I talked to one of my closest friends, and they helped cheer me up after that whole incident. So if you know your “go-to” person, just straight up throw words at their faces and tell them your thoughts and feelings even if it ends up with you throwing a fit or being overly emotional.
2. Write in a Journal
If you’re the type who is afraid of expressing their self-doubt to someone else, then you can always try journaling because no journal will ever judge you.
I can feel that way sometimes too. Some days, I don’t feel like talking to someone about my rejections, so I go to my diary instead. You can always write about anything that comes to your mind and what’s giving you self-doubt. Journaling helps you release a few emotions and gives you a clearer mind to the barrier that’s stopping you.
A suggestion that journaling can help you overcome your self-doubt is to figure out your problem-focused (how you can attempt to change the situation) or emotion-focused (how you can attempt to change the thoughts or emotional consequences of the doubt) triggers. This can work out if you’re in a stressful situation too.
And note, you DON’T have to go out of your way to buy yourself a journal. You can always use your phone’s note app to do that. But writing by hand is preferable, it helps you feel more connected.
3. Motivational Thinking
It could be a motivational video on YouTube or a podcast. There are also motivational quotes that you can write in your journal or stick a sticky note where you often see it (like a mirror or bathroom door, for example).
Give yourself motivation. Tell yourself “I can do this” or “I know I can do this”. The more positive reinforcement you give yourself the more your mind will do what you’re telling it to do.
I do this a few times before a group presentation or before a test. I tell myself “Just get this over and done with!” or “Do it for the credits. Just do it for the credits!”. Sometimes it works, and other times it doesn’t, but it doesn’t matter once you get it over and done with, right?
4. You Have Other Chances
One true realization I had recently was after my first test for my unit. I’m not afraid to share my score here so I’ll just say it. I got a 19/30. Was I disappointed? Yes. If I had scored another point, I would have been happy.
Then my professor said to everyone in the class “If you guys scored a 23/30, you would have graduated as a psychologist” or something like that. That made me self-doubt about graduating a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. The whole day, I thought to myself that I’m going to be another failed drop-out with no degree and fall into a lot of debt.
But the thing is, that test only results in 10% of my credits. Why worry about something that little when you can always find another way?
People say “Learn from your mistakes,” and that’s what I’m telling you. People make mistakes for a reason, and that reason is to learn and use it to climb to success. Did JK Rowling give up when she couldn’t find a publisher to publish her “Harry Potter” novel? No, she didn’t! Now it’s one of the most popular novels worldwide and has made Rowling a billionaire.
If it’s a dream that you want to accomplish, you should never give up unless you know that you feel that it’s impossible to achieve it. Balance the optimistic and pessimistic thoughts. This is also a reminder for you to practice better for the next time (a.k.a. don’t be like me and fall asleep at 4 am before a test day).
5. Change Your Mindset
Has this happened in the past? If so, look at the patterns and look at what it’s doing to you. You shouldn’t fall back into this self-doubt trap again, and adopting a positive mindset helps with that.
These traps are known as “faulty thoughts”. These include:
- overgeneralization (categorizing those as a never-ending negative cycle),
- overlooking the positives (bias towards the negatives than the positives),
- definite statements (believing in great expectations),
- blaming other factors (targeting other reasons for your failure),
- categorization/labeling (another way of looking at things in black-and-white),
- emotional reasoning (using your feelings as facts and basing it on your decisions or actions),
- exaggeration (overlooking the “other side” or someone/something and extending more of the good qualities),
- predicting the future (predicting the negative event or situation),
- mind-reading (thinking something negative based on their reaction or attitude) and
- mentally filtering occasions (overlooking the positive and focusing more on the negative details).
You can read more about these in detail here.
Ph.D., Karyl McBride states “You don’t need to brag, but give yourself credit where credit is due,” and I couldn’t agree on enough. She also exclaims about narcissism and being stuck in the “imposter syndrome.”
This is where you feel like you can’t accept accomplishment, knowing that you might feel like a complete “fraud”. If you do feel like you have imposter syndrome, tell yourself “If it’s something to be seen as worthy of a celebration, then celebrate it! Only I can give myself credit”.
These are some of the best ways you can overcome self-doubt about yourself.
5 Lessons for Communicating Efficiently and Professionally Through Quotes
Considering we have been communicating since we were born, by crying and yelling, in the beginning, to get our message across, to slowly learning the words to do the same, you would think, we would have mastered it by the time we reach adulthood. How right yet how wrong that logic is?
When you think about it, communication is one of the first skills we learn. We have been talking and conveying our thoughts for our whole lives, yet, it becomes harder to effectively communicate as we grow up. There’s just something about communications that’s harder than it should be for us.
Of all the skills we develop as leaders and professionals, communicating is one that many people fail in. We frequently miscommunicate, bypass the point, cause an unintended reaction, or avoid a messy discussion altogether. As a result, not communicating holds us back.
“You can have brilliant ideas, but if you can’t get them across, your ideas won’t get you anywhere.”
How many times has it happened that you have had a great idea, an obvious solution, known the answer to the question that’s worrying everyone, but haven’t voiced your thoughts? When you have difficulty putting your thoughts across, you choose not to speak at all. While that saves you from discomfort in that particular moment, it only harms you in the long run.
You might never stand out from your colleagues, even though you have better ideas. You might never be taken seriously because you don’t speak when it is needed. You might miss opportunities because you were too afraid to put in your two cents. Remember, if you don’t ask, the answer is always going to be no.
“Communication is the solvent of all problems and is the foundation for personal development.”
Following up on the previous quote, when you speak out, you get feedback. When you get feedback, you understand whether your idea is brilliant in reality or just your head. You learn how to implement it or learn where it falls short.
While not speaking out means your ideas will never fail, it also means that you will never learn and you will never grow. Hence, it will stump your personal development.
Apart from that, it is really a solution for most problems – personal as well as professional. Many times the things that are bothering you can be easily solved with communication. Putting up boundaries, being open to discussion, raising objections, apologizing, a lot rides on words and how you put them.
“Don’t use words too big for the subject. Don’t say infinitely when you mean very; otherwise, you’ll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite.”
You communicate to be heard, to be understood; so if you use words that aren’t that common while speaking, then you are going to be getting nowhere. Try to keep your dialect as simple as you can when conveying something. Try to think of the least qualified person in the room, if even they can comprehend what you are saying then you are doing great.
This also applies to exaggeration when we are trying to sell an idea that isn’t great. We might succeed in selling it now, but no one is going to believe it when you actually do have a great idea.
“The two words ‘information’ and ‘communication’ are often used interchangeably, but they signify quite different things. Information is giving out; communication is getting through.”
-Sydney J. Harris
This goes hand in hand with not using big words when putting your thoughts across. If it is a meeting with people from different departments, then chances are that not everyone is going to be familiar with the jargon of your sector.
While using jargon and technical mumbo-jumbo will help make you sound intelligent, it won’t help you put your point across. Try to communicate your information by finding a balance between speaking in layman’s terms and including enough to make you sound authoritative.
“Think like a wise man but communicate in the language of the people.”
-William Butler Yeats
This is more applicable in professional life, even though it has an influence in personal life as well. When you are in meetings or business setting, not everyone is going to have the same expertise as you. While you might think in the terms of statistics, it might mean nothing to the person who thinks in the terms of profit margin. This is where it is important to learn to put your messages in a more understandable dome. If you have ever been into public speaking, then you will know that it helps you with being tactful about what you say, how you say it, and it is received.
In personal life, you might be able to look at a situation logically being at the outside of its direct impact radius, that does not mean you can put it as it to someone who is clearly in the center of everything. This helps no one, instead, it has the power to ruin, something that could have been easily solved. Sometimes you have to use your knowledge to help you navigate a situation without quoting your knowledge.
Communication might not be your strength, but it isn’t something that can’t be developed. Read books about communicating effectively. Basically, sound confident when you speak, try being concise with your words. Think about what you need to put across and mould your words to that. The words you choose should not be based on you but on the listener. Simpler the dialect, better it is perceived – fewer chances of miscommunication and misunderstanding.
When you start reading more, listening to more than just words, and writing down your thoughts – it becomes easier to communicate. To be able to give, you should learn how to receive. Communicating is a skill that is a necessity. You need to be able to put yourself out there to be seen, to be heard, and to be understood.
Tips for Surviving Your Twenties
The Importance of Having a Purpose in Life
Why Do We Need Measurable Goals?
Why Starting an Online Business is a Good Idea in Current Times
3 Simple Tips to Getting Over Jet Lag as Quickly as Possible
How to Break Free From Your Boring Life to Live Your Passion
How Making Decisions Using the 10/10/10 Method Can Change Your Life
Qualities of Humorous People that Give Huge Benefits in Life
Practicing Shinrin-Yoku (Forest Therapy) to Become More Healthy and Productive
5 Tips to Help You Stick to Your Goals And Double Your Success Rate
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