Me, spilling out all my thoughts, inner and outer, on just about anything! Lots of poetry, short stories from past experiences, anecdotes about teaching elementary school, music, relationships....garage sale type thing...Something For Everyone!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The 80/20 Principle

An interesting philosophy called the 80/20 Principle, taken from Brian Johnson's that I receive daily. What do you think about this?

"Well, experts on time management would suggest we take a closer look at some of our everyday behaviors. As Koch states: “20% of what we do leads to 80% of the results; but 80% of what we do leads to only 20%. We are wasting 80% of our time on low-value outcomes.”

His advice? Rather than pursuing every available opportunity, Koch suggests we “calm down, work less and target a limited number of very valuable goals where the 80/20 Principle will work for us.”

“Conventional wisdom is not to put all of your eggs in one basket. 80/20 wisdom is to choose a basket carefully, load all your eggs into it, and then watch it like a hawk.”~Richard Koch

Simple Real-Life Applications

Business: Do you know where your revenue comes from? Find out. Do you know where you spend your time? Find out. Here’s what the book would suggest: You make at least 80% of your profits in 20% of your activity, and in 20 percent of your revenues. The trick is to figure out which 20%!

Learning: How do you read a book? Do you go from cover to cover? Why? You’re wasting a lot of time. 80% of the valuable content can be found in 20% of the book...and, according to Koch, absorbed in 20% of the time it takes most people to read the entire book.
Tip: Unless you’re reading a book for pleasure, read the conclusion then the intro, check out the graphs and pictures and then the conclusion again and maybe some sections a little deeper if you find it particularly interesting. If you’re reading a novel or a book for pleasure, read at your leisure. If you are looking for the most efficient way to learn, think 80/20.
Another Tip: The same rules apply with your kids' studies!

Social: 20% of your friends account for 80% of your enjoyment and satisfaction.
Tip: Might sound harsh, but why wouldn’t you spend a lot more time with the group that gives you so much pleasure and a lot less time with the other?!?

Your Diet: My diet? Yes, your diet. My guess is that you spend a lot of time bouncing from one diet to another--never really receiving a whole lot of consistent energy as a result. The reality: 20% of your healthy eating habits account for 80% of your health gains.
Guess what? If you ignored the fad diets and just focused on the fundamentals, you’d see a lot of results. Consistently. Are you drinking enough water (at least 8 cups a day)? Eating breakfast? Eating a lot of fruits and vegetables? Avoiding sugar? And, avoiding saturated fat?
You do these things and you’re 80% there. And, you'll be surprised how quickly your energy will increase (not to mention how quickly the number of compliments from your spouse/significant other will increase!).
Tip: Focus on the 20%. Drink 8 cups of water every day this week.
Already doing that? Good. Eat breakfast every day this week. Got that down? Good. Eat a salad with lunch and dinner. etc. etc.

You can read the full article (and a lot more of ‘em I’ve written) at

A lot of "food" for thought there! The one that makes the least sense to me is the social application. It might stand to reason that you already naturally spend more time with the people who give you more pleasure, but that wouldn't mean I'd cut out the many others whom we only see once in awhile. They deserve their time share piece of the "80% pie" and offer us variety in our social lives.

If you want to receive this daily philosophy quote/opinion, go to They can be very interesting and a good way to spark the brain first thing in the morning.....besides coffee!

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very interesting. I can see the diet working.

But the work/job, I don't know. There was a couple at church, he was a time management guru, she stayed at home. She complained of not having enough time to get things done. He did a "study" on her. 90% of the time was on the phone talking to her friends, um, making contacts, yeah that's it. He did no more time studies on her. Heehee.

Hope your toe's better. TIna

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Blogger Richard said...

Also known as Pareto’s Principle in honor of the Italian economist who first described it.

It is a description of the essential asymmetry of life, the universe and everything. Effort and results, actions and consequences are generally unbalanced. It is also a "greedy" sort of principle. I use greedy in the sense of making the best and simplest decision / choice in the naïve belief that everything will work out for the best in the end. (of course, simplest and best are open to discussion too).

Another way of phrasing it is: go with the most bang for the buck.

And yet another: focus on the big picture, don't get bogged down in the details.

However, because of the general asymmetry of things, almost everything can be generalized as 80/20 (or some other lopsided ration. I've seen people talk about 90/10 or 95/5).

I think a good way to look at it is as follows: when I was younger, I could spend hours trying to pick the perfect card for someone. It was a lot of effort, for probably not much added gain. Now, I quickly check what is available, and either take something that is pretty good - even if not perfect – or, if there is nothing suitable, I leave. What is the point of agonizing over cards that didn't grab me the first time?

Another example, you want to buy someone that perfect blue sweater. Believe it or not, as long as you get one that is good enough, close enough to the colour and style you imagine, the recipient will probably never notice that it wasn't the perfect sweater you imagined. However, if you spent 3 weeks shopping for the sweater, it is unlikely they would notice the extra effort.

Now, if only women could apply this principle when they say, "I'll be ready in 5 minutes." :P

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Anonymous Coll said...

Interesting concept. But I agree with you in regards to the social application.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Blogger meno said...

Hmmm. i am thinking about this, and it seems a little facetious to assume that the 80/20 rules automatically applies to everything.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Blogger TorAa said...

This post is at least a "doubble decker". Intellectually. But You have some points to be more seriously studied.

First of all, allmost everything can fit into 20/80. If you want and know how to present it.

How is that at School?
When Canoeing?
When paying day-to- days bills
When eating
when doing house keeping?

I wish I could have one day paddling and talkin with you in a canoe - and that our spouses could be on the cabin you were to some months back - (Anna - my teacher wife) is not on blog - yet)

Still - I'm unable to write until your song is finnished.


PS. I did something unusual - comibing Wordles Wednesday with something more important.
I do think I will loose readers because of it. But, I do not give up

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Blogger twilite said...

Hi MOI! I agree with you about the social application -- I wouldn't apply this at all.

Investment...I'd go for 60/40 to ensure I don't lose much! Stupid huh?

Reading...I browse through first.

Good write for thought.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Blogger Pauline said...

“Conventional wisdom is not to put all of your eggs in one basket. 80/20 wisdom is to choose a basket carefully, load all your eggs into it, and then watch it like a hawk.”~Richard Koch

You'd spend 100% of your time just watching...and worrying. I think I'll stick with conventional wisdom and relax with my 20%

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Blogger Barbara said...

Interesting. I'll have to calculate my percentages and decide whether or not I am wasting my time!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Blogger Mother of Invention said...

Anon-Tina: Yes, interesting but I find it a little too mathematical for real life and different personalities.

Richard: Sounds like you know and have thought a lot about this already....why am I not surprisd??!!! I totally agree on the shopping thing....just not the social thing..I'm too kind to evade or refuse people wanting to do things with me just because they're not my favourite people, although in theory, it makes sense. Don't know about that last comment...whether it is even possible!

Coll: Yesh, I'm just not that methodical about my social life and I am a responder type.

Meno: I just doesn't account for humanistic and real life factors.
Tora: ha! I do use 80/20 for housekeeping! And sometimes canoeing if I'm tired! (I know my husband will keep paddling 100 %!)

Yes, to canoe with you guys would be fun and you'd love the cabins!

Your double-decker post was fine!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Blogger Mother of Invention said...


Twilite: Thanks. I'm not a risk-taker either so I wouldn't be putting all my eggs in 1 basket either.

Pauline: Yes! Good point! Who wants to sit around and watch 100% of the time when you could be with those 20% friends you haven't seen for awhile?!!!

Barbara: And not to worry if you are wasting's all relative as long as what you're doing is something you enjoy.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Blogger Mike M said...

The 80/20 rule works, but you have to apply it to every facet of your life in order to make it a habit.

Good read!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Anonymous RennyBA said...

I think this 80/20 principle works fine in business, but it's to calculative in the social life. I can be efficient to death when it comes to my work, but wants to follow my heart when it comes to using time with family and friends. Sometimes they just need you and you gladly spend time with them just because they are friends.

Wishing you a wonderful end to your week and hope your feet is getting much better :-)

Friday, October 26, 2007

Anonymous Anonymous said...

i'm beginning to find this guy very annoying. why wouldn't i want to read the entire book? why lose the opportunity to savour every word, nuance the author has selected ??? and well, i love words ....

and friends? ok, maybe i prefer spending time with a handful, the other 80% step in when the going gets rough and pitch in ... it's nice to know i have a safety net when i fall.

well, i will agree that i waste about 80% of my time getting only about 5% completed ... the other 15%??? who just poofs!! into thin air ....

thank you for being part of my 20% friends ....


Friday, October 26, 2007

Blogger Jocelyn said...

I buy this absolutely, but wouldn't have thought of applying it in some of these ways. Very thought-provoking!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Blogger Mother of Invention said...

Mike: Yes, and that would be pretty hard for me or anyone.

renny: You are right on! it's too busineeslike to apply to people.

RDG: Absolutely! I think people will do what they love and that includes people and books...every word!
You are so welcome..I am glad to be a part of your 20%!

Jocelyn: Thanks. It makes some sense on paper and for certain things when you have a tight timeline, but not for people things.


Saturday, October 27, 2007


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