I LOVE reading, but finding a book that will make me want to share it with everyone doesn’t happen too often. This book however, ticks all the boxes. Even though it’s over 200 pages, I read it in a heartbeat. It was really hard to put it away for the next session. If you’re looking for this kind of book, read on!
Have you ever read “4-hour Workweek” by Tim Ferris?
If you have and you loved it – the “80/20 Principle” by Richard Koch is the book Ferris was inspired by writing his bestseller. Ferris’s book made my quit my job and start my business, but Koch’s this book made me understand the whole principle a whole lot better.
So what is the 80/20 principle about anyway?
In simple words: it teaches us that there is a natural imbalance in the Universe, where around 80% of the results are brought by only 20% of effort/causes/people. Similarly, around 80% of world’s wealth is owned by around 20% people (those proportions can also be 99% to 1%).
Think about it this way: can you honestly say everything you do at work or in your business brings you the same results? Do all products in your shop bring you equal amount of revenue?
If you think about it, you’ll surely notice the imbalance: most of the revenue in your shop will be brought by only few bestselling products. Most of your marketing efforts will be fruitless, but this one post will go viral and bring you most of your results. Those few clients you’ve worked with bring you most of the referrals and credibility.
When I read the book and all the examples Koch’s referring to, I found myself blown away by this simple truth.
How is it useful to us?
If you understand the principle, it’s easy to see there’s a simple way of boosting your results, without working harder, or longer. The most important thing you need to start with though, is: getting clear on things that bring you the most results, with least possible effort.
For example: if most of your clients hang out on Instagram and searches for inspiration on Pinterest, should you really be spending equal amount of time on those platforms as on Facebook?
If one particular service brings you the most revenue, should you really be spending the same amount of energy providing services that only contribute to a small portion of your results and bring you the least money?
80/20 principle teaches us to be smart with our time and energy. It’s not about working hard or a lot, it’s about working efficiently and being creative with your time and effort.
This really stuck with me, because my #1 theme for this year is: less busy, more done.
Having my own business is great, but I found myself being busy ALL THE TIME. I really wanted to find a solution as to how to get results quicker, smarter and with least effort. After all, working hard is not the goal. The goal is to get stuff done, isn’t it?
How to start using 80/20 principle
First of all, list the things that you do daily, weekly or monthly and then try to be honest with yourself about which of those activities bring you the most results, with the least effort. Those should be around 20% of all items on your list. When you’re clear on that, focus 80% of your energy, resources and time on those 20% and see how your productivity and effectiveness blooms, without you having to put any more effort into your work.
Automate as many activities as you can!
- Don’t spend time sharing your blog posts on social media yourself, when you can use Zapier or IFTT to do it for you. Use tools that let you create and automate workflows for on-boarding your clients, sales and after sales, customer service and everything else that eats up your time, without bringing you big results.
- Be creative about how you use your time: often it’s better to spend 80% on thinking how to do something quicker and easier or creating a workflow, than jump straight to action and spend even more time trying to figure it out on the job.
- Cut down all time eaters, like watching TV in the evening, chatting on Facebook during the day, or giving in to the urge of checking small tasks that don’t really matter off the list, and avoiding the big ones that really make a difference and propel you forward.
Sometimes, it’s better to stop doing something that brings you some money, to make room for the big bucks!
Work smarter, not harder: lazy is smart
Every time you’re starting a new project, think about how can you change the way you work, so you get results quicker and easier. 80/20 principle is all about us working smarter, not harder. Working hard, struggling and hustling, isn’t something we should strive for anymore.
Be lazy! If you need to achieve something, think about how you can do it with the least effort on your side, while still achieving most of the results you want. What I noticed since reading the book, sometimes it’s enough to do a little small changes to your workflow (like batch work or use automation), to work a lot less hard and get the same results as before.
Do you know anyone who’s eccentric with how they use their time?
Koch tells us to look around us and find a person (or a few!) who use their time eccentrically. Those people never rush to work, they like to think about strategy for a little bit too long for everyone’s taste, and they like to make sure everyone in their team knows exactly what they are supposed to do before any work gets started on the project. They may not come to work too often, they’d rather spend time doing something they love. Everyone else may think they are lazy or not very ambitious. But those people are laser focused on the results they want to get and they usually get stuff done easily and efficiently, mostly through delegation and smart, creative solutions.
Learn from those people! Learn to spend most of your energy and time planning on how to get results you want, so that when you jump to work, you know exactly what you’re doing and which actions are going to be the most powerful for you.
The #1 advice I remember from Tim Ferris’ book that applies here is: if you find yourself doing something more than 3 times – automate it or create a workflow.
What I really think about this concept?
It’s great at work, it definitely does bring better results, while making us less busy – this is what Is strive for in my business. It even applies amazingly to your health – if you want to loose weight and have a choice of weight training + HIIT or a long run, choosing the latter will cost you more energy and time while bringing poorer results (because, you know, when you build muscles they burn your calories for you 24hr 7 days a week, versus you burning a a small amount of calories only while you run).
Koch shows us how to apply the same principle to your personal life and your choice of friends though, as well as telling us how can we distribute our time only for those activities and people we really like or find useful to us. This is something that really didn’t speak to me – I think it’s important for our personal life and growth to do things that are not very productive or spend time with people who don’t know yet, without analysing if they will be useful to us and if we should spend our time with them.
There has to be a balance and if we only strive for maximum efficiency, we’ll loose many awesome things in life, that do not contribute to our achievements directly – drinking wine on the beach in the evening anyone?
I guess as with everything, it’s best to take out of this principle what works for us and focus on the balance, rather than the crazy efficiency.
What do you think?
I’m dying to know if you read the book and if you did, what were the 3 things you took away from it?