The 80:20 Rule to Give Your Life and Business The Edge

DR JOHN DEMARTINI   -   Updated 3 weeks ago

Do you perceive that you are burning the candle at both ends yet not achieving the results you would love to see in your life and business? Dr Demartini explains how the 80:20 Rule and living by priority can transform all seven areas of your life!

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DR JOHN DEMARTINI - Updated 3 weeks ago

The 80:20 Rule, also known as the Pareto Principle or Joseph Juran’s Rule, originates from the economist, Vilfredo Pareto, and was later written about by management specialist, Joseph Juran.

In essence, the 80:20 Rule states that:

20% of what you do gives you  80% of your results or outcomes;

80% of what you do gives you  20% of your results or outcomes.

The 80:20 Rule is congruent with a principle I often speak about and write about, that:

If you don't fill your day with high priority actions that inspire you, your day will fill up with low priority distractions that don't.

The higher the priority you fill your day with, the more profound the impact and accomplishments you are likely to have. So, if you fill your day with high-priority actions (the 20% referred to in the 80:20 Rule), you are likely to achieve the highest results.

If you scatter yourself and don’t stick to priority (the
The 80:20 Rule, also known as the Pareto Principle or Joseph Juran’s Rule, originates from the economist, Vilfredo Pareto, and was later written about by management specialist, Joseph Juran.

In essence, the 80:20 Rule states that:

  • 20% of what you do gives you  80% of your results or outcomes;
  • 80% of what you do gives you  20% of your results or outcomes.

The 80:20 Rule is congruent with a principle I often speak about and write about, that:

If you don't fill your day with high priority actions that inspire you, your day will fill up with low priority distractions that don't.

The higher the priority you fill your day with, the more profound the impact and accomplishments you are likely to have. So, if you fill your day with high-priority actions (the 20% referred to in the 80:20 Rule), you are likely to achieve the highest results.

If you scatter yourself and don’t stick to priority (the 80% referred to in the 80:20 Rule), you are likely to only achieve 20% of your desired results.

If you would love to live by priority and focus on the 20% that matters, you would be wise to ask yourself:

What is the highest priority action that I can do today that can give me the greatest results? 

If you never stop and reflect and then prioritize, you may just scatter your life with unexpected extrinsically-driven expectations and duties from other people. You may also hold yourself back from achievement and breaking through plateaus and barriers.

Let’s see how the 80:20 Rule can be applied to some of the seven areas of your life: spiritual, mental, vocational, financial, family, social and physical.

Click below for the video of this article.

 

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1. In your VOCATION/ BUSINESS

I first implemented this principle many decades ago when I was 27. I had read a book called “The Time Trap” by Alec MacKenzie that really resonated with me because I realized that I was spending so much time performing low-priority tasks in my clinic.

As I read the book, I could clearly see how my lack of delegation stood in the way of my being as productive as I knew I could be.

At that time, delegating was something of a challenge to me. The story I ran in my head was:

  • By the time I delegate it to someone, I could have completed it.
  • If I give it to them, they may not do it the way I want it, and then I have to do it again.
  • I don’t have the time to train someone – it’s quicker and easier to just do it myself.
  • If I do it, I know it will be done the way I want it to be done.

I had so many excuses that held me back because I was trying to do everything without delegating lower priority tasks to people who were qualified and inspired to do them.

Here’s what I did to being the process of living by priority, beginning with creating a chart with six equal columns:

#1: What do you do in a day?

I wrote down every single action that I did in a day, at home and at work, from the time I got up to the time I went to bed. I did this over a three-month period because some days were different from others. I included every specific action from answering the telephone and writing a letter, to seeing a patient or doing inventory.

#2: What income does it produce per hour?

I then wrote done how much income each action generated. I quickly realized that each hour was being consumed by a variable amount of income generators, and that a good 20 - 30% of what I was doing was generating zero income. In other words, I was very busy doing actions that weren’t producing income or serving patients to the fullest.

I also noticed that when I was doing a low-priority action, it was generally uninspiring to me. I felt bogged down, frustrated and devalued.

#3: How much meaning does it have on a 1 - 10 scale?

I then worked through the list and rated each action according to how much meaning it had for me or how inspiring I found it - 10 being so inspiring that I couldn't wait to get up and do it, and 1 or 0 being something I really didn’t want to do or something I felt I was doing by duty instead of design.

It was while working on this column that I noticed that many of the actions that were most productive and produced the most income, were also the ones that were the most inspiring and that I couldn’t wait to do.

#4: How much would it cost me to delegate that to somebody and find a specialist to do it to the same quality and quantity that I could do it?

I included everything in this list - not just salaries but also the use of space, training, insurance, parking, equipment, computer, telephone, and every other relevant cost I could think of.

My aim was to know how much it would cost to delegate someone to do that low-value or low-priority task for me while also completing it to the same standard or higher than I would.

I then looked at where the biggest spreads were between what was produced per hour versus what it cost per hour if I delegated that task so I could do what was most meaningful to me while still making a profit.

[Download FREE Delegation Workbook to help you delegate your low priority tasks by clicking HERE]

#5: How much time do I spend on each of these actions?

This required me to write down the exact amount of time, to the minute, that I spent on each task per day.

#6: Which tasks can be seen as true priorities – rated in order of priority from the most meaningful and productive to the least?

In the process of creating this Master Priority List for myself, I discovered that there were about FIVE things that were important, of which only TWO were the highest priority tasks or “20% actions” that I could do each day.

In other words, if I regularly prioritized and actioned those two things, I would produce the most income and have the most energy (Note: When you perform high-priority tasks that are congruent with your highest values, your energy goes up).

I also realized that if I focused on and completed 20% of the 20% of the 20%, I would arrive at the very highest priority action that would produce the most income, serve the most people, and fill me with the most inspirational energy.

So, I did it.

I began the process of filling my day with the highest priority tasks – the 20% that was most likely to yield 80% of the outcomes I was inspired to achieve.

The results were tangible.

Over an 18-month period, I went from a single office with one assistant and myself to five doctors and twelve staff members with a 5,000 square foot office instead of one that was less than a thousand square feet.

My net income increased tenfold, which was significant because it helped me to realize that unless I delegated, I was in my own way.

I also realized that by delegating my low-priority tasks to others, I no longer perceived that I was trapped. Instead, I had learned the tools to liberate myself from low-priority tasks that had little value and that depleted my energy.

Every time you perform low-priority tasks, you devalue yourself. 


Every time you perform the highest priority tasks, the things that are most meaningful, productive, inspiring and income-generating that also serve the most people; you are likely to receive the most vitality as a result.

Everything can be prioritized by this rule, that 20% of what you do can give you 80% of your results.

And 20% of that gives you another 80% results. You can compound this by continually narrowing it down to the highest priority task of the highest-priority task of the highest-priority task until you get to what Gary Keller calls “The ONE Thing” that you're masterful at.

In your own business, you could look at:

  • The 20% of clients that result in approximately 80% of your income so you can focus on delivering the greatest customer service and building a long-term relationship.
  • The 20% of your products that yield the most sales so you can align your sales and marketing strategies accordingly.
  • The 20% of your sales force that delivers the most revenue so you can reward and retain them on their team.
  • The 20% of your advertising platforms that delivers the biggest Return on Investment so you aren’t tempted to scatter your approach and can instead focus on what consistently delivers results.

For me, I research, write, travel, and teach. My highest priority or highest value is teaching, then researching, writing and traveling. I get to each of my four highest values or priorities each day – things that I love doing, that also give me 80% of my results.

I am certain that getting to do what you’re inspired to do on a daily basis will LIBERATE you.

2. In your social life

When it comes to socializing, it would be wise to apply the 80:20 Rule to who you spend your time with.

Many years ago when my wife Athena was still alive, we were looking to move to a higher floor quieter address. Before beginning our search, we asked ourselves: where is the highest priority place we can live in New York that’s quiet, and that would also position us with the highest profile, highest income, and highest leveraging factor we could.

We identified what we perceived to be the greatest place at that time, that ticked all the boxes, including the fact that 20% of the people living there had the biggest influence at that time.

Once we moved in and started to associate with people that had a higher net worth, social influence, celebrity status, corporate influence, etc., we noticed that our business, influence, and wealth, all went up that year.

If you don't fill your day with the highest priority individuals in your life, it may fill up with low priority distracting people.


In other words, if you prioritize the 20% of social relationships that gives you 80% of the results, that is likely to have a massive impact on your life.

3. In your physical life

Physically, around 20% of what you eat gives you 80% of your energy. 


I'm amazed at some of the things that people eat – people who are not eating to live but living to eat, who consume sugar, fats and processed foods instead of prioritizing their health and wellbeing.

I'm a very focused individual when it comes to the eating process - I drink, eat and consume things that are the highest performing, highest priority actions that I can find for myself.

It is wise to take inventory of yourself as Gandhi did and do an evaluation of what works and what doesn't work for you on a daily basis. In doing so, you can narrow it down to the 20% that gives you 80% results:

  • What are the foods that you love that are most nutritious and give the most vitality? How can you incorporate 20% of them into your diet?
  • What are the physical activities that give you the biggest results and allow you to maximize your tone and fitness?

The 80:20 Rule is a very powerful principle, it’s wise to apply it to your health: the supplements you're taking, the food that you're consuming, the water and beverages that you're drinking, and the vegetable juices you're having. If you don’t put quality food into your body, don't expect quality outcomes.

4. In your mental or intellectual life

You’ve already asked what it would be wise to feed yourself with, so what is it that you want to feed your mind with?

What is the highest priority information and ideas from the greatest minds that have stood the test of time that you would be wise to put in your mind?

I would far rather feed my mind with the wisest, most universal principles of knowledge that I can build a foundation of life with than watch the latest “must-see” TV series.

By applying the 80:20 Rule to my mental and intellectual life, amazing things began to happen. 

  • I didn't need as much sleep yet I had so much more vitality.
  • I would ask myself, what's the highest priority piece of literature I want to put in my mind?
  • I couldn’t wait to feed my mind with things that were inspiring to me.
  • Whatever I was reading, I kept asking how it was helping me fulfill my purpose and mission?
  • The more inspired I was by what I was reading, the greater my retention.

I also discovered that if I target what it is that I want to feed my mind with by the greatest minds who ever lived and surround myself with the 20% of those people that made the biggest difference in the world and feed my mind that on a daily basis, my life changed.

I’m blessed today because I applied the 80:20 Rule many years ago, and kept applying it each and every day since then.

In Conclusion:

  • If you don't fill your day with the high actions that inspire you, your day's going to fill up with low priority distractions that don't.
  • As such, is wise to begin each day with clarity and certainty around your highest priorities for the day ahead.
  • Go on my website and do the  FREE Value Determination Process  so you can identify your highest values and priorities – the 20% that will give you 80% results.
  • If you do not delegate lower priority actions, you’re likely to spend your day doing the 80% that will give you 20% results. [Download FREE Delegation Workbook to help you delegate your low priority tasks by clicking HERE]
  • In this case, you aren’t likely to liberate yourself from the things that weigh you down, that you aren’t inspired to do, and that ultimately distract you. This is when you will procrastinate, hesitate, and frustrate and become less efficient, effective, and profoundly impactful.
  • The people you hang out with have an impact. As does what you feed your mind.
  • It is wise to focus on the 20 percent that matters – to ask yourself, “What is the highest priority action that I can do today that can give me the greatest results?”
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The 80:20 Rule to Give Your Life and Business The Edge

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