Ah the old 80/20 rule. So many applicable subjects, but in general it goes like this:
- 20% of your inputs reflect 80% of your outputs
- the final 80% of your inputs only yield 20% of your outputs
Let me explain, for business, it is very common to see only 20% of your clients yielding 80% of your revenue and profits, and with the remaining 80% of your clients only yielding 20%. So marketing efforts are focused on those areas that yield your smallest results. Another work situation I’m seeing right now is with people management. Most people in our office are great, and I play a large role in directly managing some, and keeping the reins on everyone else. Of the group, it is consistently about 20% of the people that have 80% of the drama and personal life crisis’s that adversely impact work environment, either theirs or other people’s. The other 80% of the people are hard workers, meet what they should be doing and leave their craptastic lives at home where it belongs.
I think in our personal lives, we have similar inputs/outputs. It doesn’t take a whole lot of effort to raise happy, healthy and hardworking kids; to have a fun, sexy and solid marriage and to lead and keep things rolling. What does take a lot of effort (that 80%) is all the ancillary stuff that needs to get done to keep stress at bay. Examples of this 80% effort include cleaning the kitchen, emptying the dishwasher, cleaning pots and pans, laundry, shoveling snow, mowing the lawn, car maintenance…basically all the things that make it so we have a tidy life. We could live in squalor, eat off paper plates, wear dirty or wrinkled clothes and have unkempt house and lives and still live a mostly happy life. Heck, I’m a testament to that growing up in a house with hoarding parents (though it wasn’t AS bad then, just a 6.5 on a scale of 10 versus an 8.5 now).
Outside of our nuclear family, there are other family members and friends who either contribute more to drama or more to our happiness. Isn’t it always the same few people bringing shit into our lives? Why can’t we cut them out? The answer is we can. For a long time my MIL was providing massive baggage and guilt trips into my wife’s life, detracting extensively from it as an emotional vampire. Finally, Holly cut her out completely, right after Birdsnest was born. She basically set down her expectations, MIL didn’t comply, so no contact for several years. Since then, they ‘ve rebuilt their relationship and are good friends again, but when she cut the drama from her life, her happiness went up a lot. If my wife can do that with her mom, you can do it with your leeching sister or friend who always brings the baggage and not enjoyment to your life.
In eating, it is a slightly different concept, in that it is pretty difficult to eat clean (paleo) 100%, but hitting 80% (and keeping wheat/flour out of your diet), you’re likely going to still get most of the benefits. For finances, the concept is 80% of the people make 20% of the income (and vice versa).
For all of us, I think we need figure out how to maximize our time to bring good things and positive energy to our lives and while cutting out as much of the crap as possible. The 80/20 is only a guideline, and the more we can shift it to say 90/10 the more happy we can be. By reducing the bad part, it can increase and leave more time for the beneficial people and times in our lives. Think about what you want (not what you don’t want) and continue to make every decision with the end goal in mind. And don’t be afraid to say no to reach your happiness goals.