Which 20% of my efforts are producing 80% of my results that I need to focus more on?
And which 80% of my efforts producing 20% of my results can I eliminate from my life?
The 80/20 Principle, also known as the Pareto Principle, discovered by Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, says that for many events, 80% of the results come from 20% of the causes.
While Tim isn’t the first person to apply the 80/20 Principle to life, work and productivity, The 4-Hour Workweek makes an extremely powerful case for it – and is one of the reasons why its in the top 3 of must-read productivity books I recommend (the other 2 are First Things First and Getting Things Done).
How I Eliminated 29% of My Information Overload
Tim recommends cutting down the amount of unnecessary info that flows into your life for two main reasons: information consumes both time and attention that you could be spending elsewhere.
I couldn’t find the answer to Tim’s questions above, so I decided if I couldn’t find a more effective way to maximize my results first, I could at least shed some extra weight. So I decided to free up as much time and attention as I could.
If you know me, you’ll know I’m a big fan of streamlining and decluttering life and environment. I’m also a big fan of knowledge, which explains the 64 RSS subscriptions in my RSS reader!
Taking an honest look at my feeds; I asked myself which of my feeds I got the most value from, to focus on the 80% value from the 20% input, and which I got the least value from to cut down the 20% value from the 80% input, through my reading experience over the last few months. Being as ruthless as I could, I managed to streamline my subscriptions from 64 to 45. Not ideal, but I still managed to reduce 29% of my information load!
Reduce and simplify. Photo by Nathan.
(An unexpected surprise: I actually deleted the granddaddy of all problogging blogs from my subscription list, Darren Rowse’s Problogger. I’ve found that I’ve been getting more value from these 2 blogs about pro-blogging; Performancing and Successful Blog, instead.)
If You Work Smarter You Get to Work Less, Work Dumber & You Have to Work More
I also started thinking about Life Coaches Blog and my restarting a blog project. I’ve been honest from the start; I began this blog to create a positive impact, I also did it to make a profit – wanting one day to make enough profits to do this full-time so I can create even more positive content.
I’ve been toying around with starting another blog for the last year. But what always stopped me was the fact that Life Coaches Blog was already keeping me busy, together with my full-time job and life, and I wasn’t sure I would have enough time for a new project.
But in the last few weeks I decided to say; ‘screw it, if I never do it I’ll never know’, and started a new project – only to have this realization hit me like a rock: was I still suffering from my old belief about money that in order to make more money, I had to work even harder?
I realized that if I were to start a new blog now, with all the demands on my time, I’d still be stuck in the old cycle of trading money for time, instead of the more profitable formula of trading money for value.
That got me thinking about the 80/20 Principle as it applied to Life Coaches Blog. Which 20% of my efforts got me 80% of my results? And then it hit me: marketing my blog actually got me better results than focusing on my writing.
Don’t get me wrong, writing quality content is essential – it’s what people come to your blog for in the first place. But its ultimately useless to write the best content in the world when nobody will ever see it!
Focus on Creating Value Not Creating More Effort
The goal wasn’t to haul more and more work onto my plate, it was to eliminate the unnecessary 80% of effort and maximize on the key 20% of value. I realized that a key way to do that would be to keep actively encouraging reader submitted articles.
That solution dovetails very nicely into the future of Life Coaches Blog I envisioned in May of this year: to have Life Coaches Blog not just be about me but also about other guest bloggers’ articles.
That way, I can get the extra time to work on and improve Life Coaches Blog itself. Ultimately everyone benefits; the readers get more perspectives on how to change their lives, contributors get a bigger audience and I get to maximize my efforts and work on making a better Life Coaches Blog.
This exercise in lifestyle design following The 4-Hour Workweek is turning up some interesting results indeed.