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How The 80/20 Rule Is The Secret Ingredient To Midlife Energy And Refreshment

Welcome to The Easy Aging Show. Today I'm talking about the Pareto Principle, which is also known as the 80/20 Rule. This rule has been around forever and it shows up all over the place in so many parts of our lives. Today I want to explain what it is, how it shows up in real life, and how you can start applying it in your midlife years.

Understanding this principle can help you focus on what matters most and when you do that, you'll reclaim more of your energy and vitality. How fun, right? :)

That's because you're not wasting time doing those little things that don't matter anymore. You're focused on the things that are most important, the things that matter most.

Some of this information is from a book titled "Living The 80/20 Way: Work Less, Worry Less, Succeed More, Enjoy More" by Richard Koch.

What is the Pareto Principle or the 80/20 rule?

Basically, it means that 20% of your efforts create 80% of your results. Or to flip it, Koch says "80% of what you want is generated by 20% of what you do." That means there are only a handful of things that matter in order to create the results you're looking for.

Only a few things matter. The rest are a waste of time.

I don't know about you but when I read that, I immediately relaxed. I could feel this weight coming off of my shoulders. Think about it: If you only did those few things that 20% on a regular basis, you could have what you want.

And that could be anything including better health, fewer pounds, stronger relationships, less debt, more passion, more purpose. Anything at all. How amazing is that? And how much energy would you have left after doing fewer things throughout your day?

For the record, the percentages are general. Sometimes it's 82% to 18%, or 77% is at 23%. Don't get too hung up on that. It averages out to 80% and 20%.

The main thing to know is that you can slow down the train a bit. You can relax and still get what you want from your personal life, your professional life, and everything in-between.

When I say the principle has been around forever, it was discovered in 1897 by an Italian economist, Vilfredo Pareto. So it was named after him, but it also has other names besides the Pareto Principle and the 80/20 rule.

You may hear it as the Pareto Law, or the Principle of Least Effort, or the Principle of Imbalance. Personally, I like the Principle of Least Effort best. ;)

A few examples of the 80/20 Rule 

Let me give you some examples of how it shows up in real life. Let's say five people play poker. It's likely that one of them that's 20% of the five of them will walk away with 80% of the pot.

In retail, 20% of the staff make 80% of the sales, and 20% of the customers create 80% of the profits. In science, 20% of the scientists create 80% of the scientific breakthroughs.

In literature, 20% of the authors sell more than 80% of the books. Online, 20% of the social media influencers get 80% of the limelight. Even in crime, the statistics show that 20% of the thieves steal 80% of the loot.

You see where I'm going with this? Koch says that the power of the 80/20 principle is based in the fact that it's counterintuitive. That's because our human nature tells us to expect things to be 50/50 to make everything balance out.

Thinking the 80/20 way isn't necessarily a natural thing for us but because this shows up so regularly in just about every area of our lives, it would benefit us to adjust our thinking so we can take full advantage of it.

How to apply the Pareto Principle in your own life

You're probably wondering how to apply the 80/20 rule in your own life. Well, let's take a look at something like relationships. How are they going, friend? One of the things I've noticed in midlife is that I just don't have the energy to have a lot of relationships anymore.

When I was younger, I was friends with everybody. I knew what was going on in their lives. I'd spontaneously go to a party or meet someone for dinner without a moment's hesitation, no matter how well I knew them.

That's probably because I used to think, "Oh, yay, an invitation! Something to do, let's go." That was in my twenties. These days, I'm focused on the quality of my relationships instead of quantity. And I have a short list of people who I want to spend my time with.

Instead of being with the 80%, I focus my time and energy on the 20%. These are the high-quality relationships that I crave, and these are the relationships that I run toward. The best part of this is that when I get to this 20%, I can give 100% of myself to this little handful of people.

And when you do that, you strengthen these relationships with more energy and more consideration. Oh my goodness, it is so much better and so much richer and so much more fulfilling than having a lot of low quality relationships.

Honestly, most of our relationships on social media are low quality, and I guess that's why I don't go there anymore for relationships. I've decided to just use social media for entertainment and education but even then, I have to set the timer for 20 minutes so I don't overdo it.

I do have a Facebook group and a business page for this podcast. In order to have that, I am required by Facebook to have a personal profile. I have no idea why. Maybe just to prove I'm a real person (hmmm...).

I found scrolling and trying to keep up with these low-quality relationships to be absolutely exhausting so one day, I just stopped. I thought, "If this is making me tired, why am I doing it?"

When I stopped cold turkey, I started feeling so much better. The way I see it, if someone is truly my friend, they are going to contact me directly and I welcome that.

My true midlife friends think enough of me to actually pick up the phone about the important things going on in their lives. Why? Because that's what good friends do, and these good friends are my 20%.

That's just one example of how you can benefit from focusing on the 20%. So what about you? How do you focus on your 20%?

How to focus on your 20%

The first thing you have to do to focus on your 20% is figure out what that 20% is. Yeah, I know. Genius level thinking going on here. ;)

This could mean anything from taking a few minutes to break a big, overwhelming task into smaller steps so you can see what's actually needed versus what can be eliminated from the process. Maybe that process was serving you at one time and now you're realizing you don't need it anymore.

That's what I've recently done with this podcast. I took the time to see what's working and what's not, and in my evaluation, I looked at the numbers. I have the advantage of having some statistics behind everything that I'm doing here. So I made a few tweaks to my process.

For instance, I've moved some of the podcast content that used to air on Saturdays to the weekly emails on Wednesdays. I've deleted a couple of distribution channels that were not serving me well and the statistics proved it.

And I've streamlined my behind-the-scenes process to make it easier to produce an episode for you. That'll give me more energy and excitement about this because I don't want to get burned out. So that's very specific on how you can break down a big task

Looking for your 20% could also mean something more nebulous like writing a list of things on what makes you happy and what doesn't. When you write them down, you can see the 20% that needs your attention, the 20% that brings you great joy.

Looking at that list, you can determine what exactly that 20% is so you can focus on it and release the rest. And who knows, you may be like me and realize that social media just isn't working for you anymore. When I realized it was draining me, I could adjust my use of it.

And like I said earlier, I focus my use of it on the 20% that matters most to me, which is education and entertainment. Now, my relationships feel more authentic and more real without having a screen that filters everything that's going on, filters every conversation, every response.

The bottom line is, until you're aware of it, you can't change it. So I would highly encourage you to grab your favorite beverage, write down the steps or define the parameters, or do what you need to do so you can start seeing clearly how to grab onto that 20% with gusto.

I'll see you in the next episode and until then, peace, love and blessings to you and yours. Take care. Bye-bye!

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