80% stop what you’re doing right now

Today’s lesson is diminishing marginal futility ✎ By Wayne K. Spear

I’m going to stop 80% of what I’m doing, right now.

We’ve all heard of the 80/20 rule, known as the law of unequal distribution.

– Eighty percent of your business is driven by twenty percent of your customers.

– Eighty percent of your profits come from twenty percent of your products.

– Eighty percent of the problems are caused by twenty percent of the people.

The idea is that roughly 80% of effects come from 20% of causes. Known as the Pareto Principle, the concept is named after the economist Vilfredo Pareto.

Pareto noticed that 80% of the peas in his garden came from 20% of the pea pods. He started looking around for other examples of the 80/20 rule.

He found them everywhere.

I think it’s more like the 90/10 rule, but 80/20 is not meant to be absolute. In any individual example, it could be 70/30 or 60/40 or even 99/1.

It will never be 100/100. That’s like buying only winning lottery tickets, and writing only #1 hit songs or #1 New York Times best-sellers.

I have almost 600 posts on this website, and over 80% of my traffic is generated by a half-dozen of them. That’s 80+ percent of traffic from 1% of posts, each and every day!

So I’m focusing on the 10–20 percent of my ideas and actions that get the results. And then I’m focusing on the 80/20 subset of that 80/20.

For example, I’m only going to write the 10% of the words that you’ll read, and leave out the other 90.

If we all did this, we could waste a lot less time.

But first you have to find the 20% of your pods where all your joy, fulfillment, happiness, money, and success come from.

One thought on “80% stop what you’re doing right now”

  1. Thanks, Wayne. This is very helpful. Your post has given me something concrete to work with in my quest to get stuff done.

    Considering these ratios and thinking about adapting the 80:20 to my own life and work is useful. This helps me to feel better about all the stuff I don’t or won’t get done. In the spirit of driving for efficiency, I’m going to take your advice, and take it one step further.

    From today forward, I will begin to push myself for 95:5 ratio.

    Come to think about it, this ratio should provide a focus that will work extremely well for me. 95:5 is close to my sweet spot for tasks taken on to tasks completed (Tt:Tc / TT:C). Understanding this, frees me up from worrying, justifying, apologizing for everything that I haven’t done or completed (95%). This time I will use to appreciate, celebrate, advertise the stuff I do (5%).

    In thinking about it I wonder if this is how the 1% do it.

    Yours, Glen


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