How to cut out 50% of what you do and actually get MORE done! Thank you, Pareto…
Is it really possible to cut out 50% of all the things you do and actually get MORE done?
Well, Vilfredo Pareto and I say yes it is. Pareto was born on July 15th, 1848 (I was also born on July 15th) and was an Italian economist and sociologist. He initially discovered that 80% of the wealth was owned by just 20% of the people. Later, he realized that 80% of his garden’s peapod harvest came from just 20% of the peapods. Other studies began to find similar ratios in industry and nature.
This rule became known as the Pareto Principle and you may know it as the 80/20 rule. That 80% of your results come from just 20% of your efforts. He also talked about it as the vital and trivial. There are aspects of everything we do that are vital to the outcome (the 20%) and then there are things that are trivial and do not affect the outcome (the 80%).
So, 20 percent of your inputs produce 80% of your outputs. That also means that 80% of your inputs only produce 20% of the results. We immediately get two life-changing lessons from this:
Focus on the 20%… things that matter
Stuck in the 80%… things that don’t matter
This can have a dramatic impact on your business and your life. This principle holds true in business, in life, in relationships and even in your happiness. Inputs create outputs. Let’s talk about how we can use this in our business and our life.
The first and most important step is to Focus on the 20!
I call this the Law of Focus where less is actually more. It starts with your awareness and the identification of activity or input that is one of the 20%. This thing actually produces results for you in your life or in your business. In life, relationships can create happiness. You will find that there are less than 20% of your relationships that bring you 80% of your happiness. Concentrate or focus on those relationships. A business example of this would be new customer acquisition. Getting a new customer is one of the top outputs of any business. It’s the result we are all after.
So when you get a new customer, be sure to ask yourself, “How did we get this new customer?” What was it specifically that got the new customer to join you? When I was in the pizza business, we often asked the customer what made you order a pizza tonight? Many times they said because I have this coupon. So we realized that was a main part of our business and we had a policy that no box left the pizza shop without a box top coupon on it! That was one the 20% things and we went on to produce record weeks in that store. We looked at the results of all of our marketing and found that we did best focusing in on the 20% of things that worked and as quickly as possible drop the 80% of things that did not work. That brings us to the second rule…
Don’t Get Stuck in the 80%
We need to reduce the time that we spend in 80% of the activities that are not producing results. Measure and cut. Realize that you can cut the things that are not producing. Many people get stuck in the 80. They are doing things that do not produce results and don’t even realize it. You need to continue to make progress and that comes from the 20%.
We can create more with less – I call this “The Law of Progress”.
First is Focus – find the 20% – look at your results and find the 20% of things that are making a difference and causing the results. The second part is Selectivity. You want to select or choose the 20% items. Each day you have a choice in what actions you take and in what actions you put off. Choose to work on the 20% items.
When I worked in the corporate world there were many times when people wanted my attention or opinion on something. I found most of the time that was not part of the 20% that helps me get things done so I set up times I was available but most of my day I schedule out. I found that many times when people had a little more time to process things, it worked out without distracting me for it. So setting up some protection of your time to keep focused on the 20% items is important.
The last part of the “Law of Progress” is Innovation. This is where you venture out and find new 20% things. You look for new ways to market, new relationships, new inputs that could become part of your 20% which produce 80% of your results. Always be on the lookout for innovation.
Back to my initial statement – How would you like to cut out 50% of what you do and actually get MORE done? Is that possible? Absolutely. You see 80% of what you do today is not moving the needle – it’s not adding to your business, your success, your happiness. Think about that for a minute? You could cut out 80% of what you do and still make the same results because your results are coming from the vital 20%.
Cut Out the 80% and Replace With the 20%
What I’m suggesting is we cut out some of that 80% non-results stuff and replace it with the vital 20% that is causing all your results. That way, you could cut half of what you do and still get more done than you are getting done today.
You know the 80/20 rule works – its practical – it shows up all the time. I found it very empowering to realize I could cut out at least 50% of the things I’m doing and focus in on the 20% that mattered. I’ve also discovered that in many cases it’s less than 20% that matters. That when I look at sales in my businesses, many times 80% of the sales are coming from less than 20% of my team’s activities. Sometimes I find it’s actually fewer than 10% that’s making all the difference.
Thank you Vilfredo Pareto after almost 170 years you are still making a difference. Focus on the 20!
All the best – until next time wytayba,
Blaine Oelkers is a lifetime entrepreneur, a graduate of Purdue University and Stanford University’s Entrepreneurship program. He’s achieved over 100 Million dollars in sales and has coached 1000s of business owners. He’s America’s Chief Results Officer® (CRO) helping business owners and their companies get results. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Blaine is America’s Chief Results Officer® and the world’s greatest creator of doneness. He knows your results matter and he can help you get better, faster and more long-lasting results. Get started with one simple and elegant results technique that activates your mind with your top goal over 100 times a day. He explains it in a short TEDx talk he recently did. Your results matter – get access immediately at www.BlaineTEDx.com