Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Use the 80:20 Rule to Increase Your Success

When I returned to London one of the things I did was to weed out my closet. It is something I do fairly regularly yet there were still items in my closet that I don't enjoy wearing and so almost never wear but was holding on to simply because they were in good condition. I packed them away for recycling. The thing is that we wear about 20% of the clothes we possess. Even when I was away there were items of clothing that I wore over and over again because I enjoyed wearing them and other clothes that I never wore at all. This means that 80% of our clothing is just languishing in the closet.

This 80:20 rule, also called the Pareto Principle, is a factor throughout our personal and professional lives. In business you will find that 20% of your contacts generate 80% of your business's income. Similarly, 20% of what you do will produce 80% of your results. Yet we all seem to have a bit of a hoarder inside of us. We fiercely hold on to 'stuff' that might come in handy, that might be useful someday. That day generally never comes.

If you are holding onto things that are not serving you, you are preventing other things from entering your life. I challenge you to examine how you spend your time. What are the activities that give you greatest benefit? What are the activities that are simply wasting your time? Aim to eliminate of the latter as possible or at least reduce the amount of time you spend doing these activities. You will then have more time to focus on your more beneficial activities.

Examine every area of your life with the Pareto Principle in mind and apply it with ruthless efficiency. You want to create time and space for the best that life has to offer. And then get into the habit of repeating this exercise on a regular basis. Can you see how the quality of your personal and professional life will be enriched? You will be continually developing the very best in your life and by letting go of what is not benefiting you or your business you will open up those resources, opportunities and even people to others.

Practice investing your time, energy and resources in the vital few rather than the trivial many to achieve greater success in your life.

"If we did realise the difference between the vital few and the trivial many in all aspects of our lives and if we did something about it, we could multiply anything that we valued."
Richard Koch

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