The pareto principle or 80-20 rule states that roughly 80% of events come from 20% of the causes. For example,
Although those numbers may not be completely accurate, the overall principle remains the same. You can use this principle to drastically improve your own productivity and efficiency.
I used to be a perfectionist; I wanted to spend an exorbitant amount of time to make something perfect. However, this way of working cost me. It prevented me from exploring new opportunities and experiences. It gave me unnecessary stress and made life difficult. In college, I would spend a lot of time studying the topics that were unimportant. It prevented me from focusing on the topics that I truly needed to understand. Once I understood this principle, life got a lot easier.
Clean up the messiest and dirtiest parts of your house for that week so your place looks almost fully clean rather than scrubbing every inch of it (or just outsource it and spend your time doing something more productive). I’d rather spend 30 minutes cleaning the parts of my apartment that need cleaning rather than 3 hours making sure there’s no more dust on it. Truthfully, most people wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.
Focus your time and attention on your top grossing clients or products. Your top clients and products will earn you the most amount of money. Too much time diverted away from them and towards less profitable avenues will only cost you more money. In fact, you can’t afford to not spend time on your top clients and products.
Spend most of your time and attention on the material that is most relevant to your exam and skim the rest of it. I wish I knew this when I was in college and high school. Most exams tend to be focused on the important principles and details. By homing in on those principles, I can save myself a lot of time by not studying the most obscure details.
For sports, spend the majority of your time working on the parts that will lead to the most gains. I enjoy playing recreational table tennis at clubs. Most people spend 60%-70% of their time practicing forehand topspins then the remainder of their time practicing backhand topspins. However, once these people have their fundamentals down, they’re getting almost no gains from that practice. Instead, they should be working on their serve, serve receive, and and tactics which will drastically improve their playing level.
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