How To Use the 80/20 Principle To Get Crazy Results

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“You cannot overestimate the unimportance of practically everything.”-John Maxwell

Practically everything doesn’t matter.

Practically everything has little to no effect on your results.

Practically everything is a distraction to what matters most.

Why then do so many of us fill our lives with things that don’t matter?

Well, that’s not an easy question to answer as there are many reasons. Let’s just focus on getting you to realize this so you can do something about it.

The 80/20 principle is a power law observed in nature that approximates to this: 80% of your results come from 20% of your efforts.

80% of ten peas come from 20% of the pods. 80% of your revenue comes from 20% of your customers.

Etc.

This is now productivity gospel, and you’ve probably heard about it. But very few people take advantage of it.

That’s because it’s hard.

We fall into the less is more trap.  We think the new shiny object will get us to where we want to go. We get sucked into the vortex of swiping, scrolling, liking, and commenting to get those little dopamine spikes.

Billion-dollar technology monopolies paid thousands of people $100,000+ a year to create products that keep you plugged into their Matrix.

And these are just a few of the reasons why it’s so hard to focus and so hard to utilize then 80/20 principle in our life even when you understand it.

It’s not easy to say no to things. It’s not easy to let people down and to otherwise take your own path.

Start doing a smaller number of things better.

Do fewer things. Do them better, go deeper. Then stay consistent.

Do this and you’ll uncover results you never could have imagined. This is also how you cultivate a deep life (Cal Newport).

I don’t have a hard-and-fast 5 step checklist for doing any of this. This stuff takes time. It takes practice. You have to internalize these ideas. So I talk about them a lot. I talk and think about them a lot for me first, you second, because hey, I still don’t have them down as good as I should.

As I said, this stuff doesn’t come easy.

Start cultivating your no muscle. Start asking yourself if you really want to do something. If it’s not “hell yes” then it should be no. That’s from Derek Sivers.

Eliminate. Simplify. Reduce.

Take a walk. Clear your mind. Let your email go unchecked for a while.

Napoleon would open the mail a couple of weeks late. When asked why he replied, “ it’s amazing how many urgent things take care of themselves.”

Go deep in the areas of your life that matter.

Each bit of your mind and body you give to something else is a bit less mind and body you can give to the things that really matter to you.

Yet we do this in our modern world often without even considering it. We let people monopolize our time and drone on. We let people mail us and call us and pop up in our faces with things they want.

We stay in toxic relationships and workplaces. We struggle to eke out a living and purpose in the myriad of things on our daily to-do list.

On and on it goes, spread thin, and it saps our life away.

There is a better way. A simpler way. A deeper way.