Pareto is an easily misunderstood king of simplicity.

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Applying the 80/20 to your daily schedule will change your life. You’ll have more time to spend with the loved ones. Your diet will improve. You’ll weed out the toxic and bad decisions. Ultimately, you’ll grow happy, satisfied and free.

When it comes to finer things in life, the Pareto principle carries similar weight as Golden ratio does in design. It’s the epitome of optimizing your life and work.

The simple explanation says that 80% of the outcome comes from 20% of the action.

“The Pareto principle (also known as the 80/20 rule, the law of the vital few, or the principle of factor sparsity)[1][2] states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.[3]

In the early 20th century, an Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto discovered something unusual. He realized that every year, 20% of the pea pods in his garden produced approximately 80% of the peas.

His discovery shaped the Pareto principle. Today, it’s applied in science, sport, wealth distribution, and almost any walk of life.

A few examples.

  • It’s called Win Above Replacement in baseball. Roughly 20% of players produced 80% of total wins.
  • Around 20% of people accumulate 80% of wealth.
  • Microsoft applied Pareto to fixing software bugs. They eliminated 80% of errors and crashes in a given system by solving 20% of the most-reported bugs.
  • The Dunedin Study has found 80% of crimes come 20% of criminals.

Pareto has countless other examples.

This all sounds interesting, but of what value is it to you?

I’ve got to confess. I had zero idea how to apply Pareto to my life. It sounded simple enough, but I saw no value in 80/20. And today, it’s the cornerstone of my personal and career achievements. Funny, huh?

If you’re as confused with Pareto as I was, this is the right article for you.

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Pareto in everyday life

If you take a moment to think, you’ll be able to recognize 80/20 in your life.

I’ll take a few wild guesses.

  • You spend most of your time with only a few friends.
  • You’re wearing a handful of shirts and pants, next to a full closet.
  • Most of your blog revenue comes from a handful of posts.
  • You’re recycling a few meals most of the time.
  • Most of your net worth hides in only a few commodities.
  • Your happiness comes from a few things in life.

How did I do? Did I guess at least 80% of stuff? If the answer is yes, then you’re like most people. (That’s not to say that you’re not special, because you are.)

How to clean your everyday life?

Let’s start easy. If you want to reach higher satisfaction with your life, you’ll have to ask yourself the following.

  • What friends do I enjoy spending most of the time with?
  • What friends are toxic most of the time?
  • What Is the recurring stuff in my diet? Is it healthy?
  • What is the thing that distracts me most of the time? (How many times do you check your phone today?)
  • Which action or commodity creates most of my income?
  • What makes me the happiest?

Sit and write the answers. These are not complicated questions. But the chance is you’ve never considered them before.

Pareto works both ways. You can spend most of your time on toxic relationships, instant pleasures and distractions.

These questions might hold the answer to why you’re not exactly satisfied with your life or work.

The trick is to cut the bottom-feeding habits. Focus on stuff that creates the most value. Double down on it.

This is going to sound harsh but cut the people that are toxic. You don’t have to go crazy. Step back, don’t see them for a few days. Then extend that to a few weeks, and ultimately, you’ll realize if they’re worth it. Put them in a lower bracket of your priorities.

If you’re not satisfied with your diet, cut the crap. Select a few groceries that you enjoy and are also healthy. Then, double down on them. It’s crazy how many meals you can make with pasta, avocado, and chicken.

Which stream of income creates most of your revenue? If it’s your book on Amazon, then write and publish more books. If funny shirts in your influencer-merch-business drive most sales, create more shirts. If you’re working in sales, identify the top costumers.

If hiking makes you happy. Guess what — by freeing up your schedule from all the anoying stuff that barely produces any value — you’ll have plenty of time to hike.

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The Takeaway

Pareto is a widely applied principle. It’s used by baseball couches, mathematicians, investors, business owners, and prominent media figures.

Most of your satisfaction revolves around a handful of people, actions, and items.

Ask yourself about your 80/20 and write them down. It’s simple.

Finally, double down on the best thing in life.

I’ve freed 80% of my schedule. I invested the extra time in health, finance, writing, traveling and learning Spanish and Chinese. I’ve written 2 novels and published 120 Medium posts in the last year. It works. I look younger, have more energy, and I stopped being my own worst enemy.