How I Elevated My Happiness Using the 80/20 Principle
In your twenties? Even if you’re young, you deserve to have a happy and fulfilled life. Fulfilment is about achieving something you desired or you promised yourself. Take control now of your life by reorganizing your activities with the simple yet powerful 20/80 Rule. This article shows how to elevate your happiness in 3 simple steps with the 80/20 rule approach. In your thirties or older? Good news, that works anyway! It’s never too late to implement healthy habits to maximise your happiness. In a hurry to hack your happiness? Take the shortcut here.
WHAT IS THE 80/20 RULE OR PARETO PRINCIPLE?
The 80/20 rule states that 80% of an outcome is generally the result of only 20% of the efforts. Without numbers, the 80/20 rule merely means that – in life – a minority of actions explain most of the outcomes.
For instance, as an entrepreneur, you may notice that 80% of your sales are driven by only 20% of your products. The correlative is that most of your products – 80% – generate only 20% of your total sales. Well, since time and money are limited resources, a way to work smarter with the Pareto approach would be to focus on these 20% winning-products. Focusing can mean different things:
using the marketing budget of the 80% least-performing products for the 20% most-performing ones.
streamlining inventory management by reducing the number of references in the losing product category etc.
putting your entire supplier negotiating efforts into the winning-products category and stop wasting your time for products that do not bring many sales anyway!
DOES THE PARETO SPLIT HAS TO BE 80/20 OR ADD UP TO 100 ALL THE TIME?
While the 80/20 repartition is often observed, it doesn’t mean it’s always the case. It can be 70/30 for example. The 2 numbers don’t need to add up to 100 either. For instance, you may have 20% of your products that generate 90% of your sales. It doesn’t really matter. It’s all about the mindset.
WHAT IS THE 80/20 MINDSET?
It’s all about working smarter, not harder, and getting things done by relentlessly leveraging the small efforts and activities that lead to the most considerable positive or negative outcomes.
MAXIMISE HAPPINESS, USE THE PARETO PRINCIPLE TO GET A MORE FULFILLED LIFE
Get happier and more fulfilled by prioritizing your highest-valued activities, tasks, and projects with a Pareto Principle approach.
To optimise your happiness with a Pareto Approach approach, simply follow the 3-step process below:
1) List your everyday situations, activities, tasks and projects where you can identify an 80/20 pattern 2) Classify them into the following categories: NEGATIVE / NEUTRAL / POSITIVE 3) Take actions based upon the prior classification
“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life, and you will call it fate” – Carl Jung
1) LIST YOUR EVERYDAY SITUATIONS, ACTIVITIES, TASKS AND PROJECTS WHERE YOU CAN IDENTIFY AN 80/20 PATTERN
You are your own judge in this exercise, so don’t fool yourself! Here are a few real-life examples of the 80/20 Rule from a happiness and fulfilment perspective, assuming that you also consider financial aspects in your assessment:
only 20% of your social interactions may lead to 80% of the overall satisfaction you gain from socialising
20% of your activities may impact negatively 80% of your stress level
80% of your income may come from 20% of your income-generating activities
80% of your non-necessary expenses may come from only 20% of your leisure activities
A quick aside regarding the financial aspects and how they may impact your assessment. “It doesn’t matter how much money you make; it’s where you feel happy.” – Ken Griffey Jr. While this quote may suggest that in life, everything should be about happiness, others may think that money is still essential in the world we live in. After all, most of us still have to pay for our bills and basic needs such as food and accommodation. Such materials aspects may contribute to your wellness and happiness. More likely, money might be still essential to cover your basic needs in your situation. If so, please include them in your overall assessment to find an optimal tradeoff.
2) CLASSIFY THESE REAL-LIFE EXAMPLES INTO THE FOLLOWING CATEGORIES: NEGATIVE / NEUTRAL / POSITIVE
Negative → Activities that put your mood down or stress you out!
Neutral → Activities that are somehow neutral, but that you cannot avoid in your current situation
Positive → Activities that make you feel good and happy!
3) TAKE ACTIONS BASED UPON THE PRIOR CLASSIFICATION
Negative → Stop doing: do not do or delegate
Neutral → Keep going but establish and execute a plan to do less of this over time
Positive → Keep going and enjoy! Do more if possible
TEMPLATE TO ELEVATE YOUR HAPPINESS WITH A PARETO APPROACH
HOW CAN I GET THE MOST OF MY LIFE IN MY TWENTIES WITH THE 80/20 RULE?
For example, if you’re studying, but you’re running out of time to do things that you cherish, reconsider your time allocation with the 80/20 approach. Life is short; time is precious. It’s always wise to reassess your life priorities with a long-term view. Being young is a precious opportunity to start healthy and productive habits early in life. A balanced and well-organized life in your twenties goes a long way, exactly like seeds planted for your future… Get the most of your life early on with an 80/20 Mindset.
WHAT I DID WRONG FOR MY HAPPINESS IN MY TWENTIES
My twenties? I’ve been there, and I’ve made a lot of mistakes. My life was not a disaster, but it wasn’t that good either. I still don’t know what prevented me at that time from being more in control of my life. Sure thing, I didn’t have a 80/20 Mindset. I was aware of the 80/20 Rule, sometimes referred to as the Pareto Principle, Pareto Law, or Law of the Vital Few, but I didn’t consider it seriously. I remember my Dad, who used to be an accountant, talking about it. I didn’t pay much attention at that time. A good decade of experience later, I have to admit that my life would have been more balanced, fun and fulfilled if I had an 80/20 Mindset. Knowing the 80/20 rule in your twenties is a good thing; taking action is even better. The 80/20 Rule is simply a fantastic tool to leverage your happiness.
HOW I FAILED TO MAXIMISE MY HAPPINESS LEVEL AS A STUDENT
When I was in Engineering school, I barely took the time to enjoy life. I was working like a dog to ensure that I would not deceive my parents supporting my studies. I was stupidly aiming for the highest grades regardless of my fulfilment and happiness level as a student. At that time, I knew that to get 14/20 on a test, 7h of preparation might be enough, but if I wanted to reach 16, 8 hours of practice wouldn’t make the cut. Afraid of the consequences of being more average with my grades, I would spend two days of work to “ensure” that I would deliver on the D day. Did my grades above average help me get a better job and feel happier in the long run? No, at all. What was making me happy at this time? Simple, inexpensive and flexible activities such as exploring Paris, its bars, parks and monuments and sharing good times with my girl-friend. But the really sad thing is that I wasn’t doing these things that much. My life was not fulfilled just because of fear. I was only afraid of having average academic results and feeling guilty about it to my parents who were paying for my education.
A simple but effective Pareto approach to my student life would have been:
first assessing what activities truly make me happy – beyond the social expectations – and the time I spend on those activities
secondly, from an academic point of view, freeing up time by doing what is strictly enough to pass, and stop aiming for “perfect” grades that do not bring much value (in my case). There is no mediocrity here, it’s all about efficacy. Perfectionism is a bad thing most of the time!
thirdly, using the time-freed up in an entrepreneurial venture to help self-discovery (who I am, what I want in life etc)instead of refraining myself from doing this kind of thing.
lastly, using the time-freed up to learn how to build relationships and improve my social skills in general.
LAST TIPS TO OPTIMISE YOUR HAPPINESS WITH A PARETO APPROACH
People change over time, so do their aspirations, even if you’re not in your twenties anymore. It’s okay to be dislike something you use to like and vice-versa. Long story, short, do what makes you happy! Reassess your current situation on a regular basis with a Pareto Approach, and adjust your priorities accordingly. This is how your fulfilment and happiness will be optimal.
“Life is a journey, not a destination” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
This approach to getting the most of your life was inspired by the author Tim Ferriss. He wrote about it in all three of his books: The 4-Hour Work Week, The 4-Hour Body, and The 4-Hour Chef. The template is an adaptation of the 80/20 concept he presented in The 4-Hour Work Week. Tim Ferris might have a different approach on how to optimise life in general with the Pareto Principle. In this article, I offered a personal view 🙂 Please note that the links above are affiliate links: I may earn a small commission on any purchase made on Amazon.
CONCLUSION AND SUGGESTIONS
If you want to learn more details about the 80/20 Principle, simply visit the Frequently Asked Question section of the paretoanalysis.tools website. Alternatively, for 80/20 Principle Excel tutorials and other healthy productivity habits, I invite you to visit the blog of the website. Finally, for broader advice on how to maximize your wellness and fulfilment in your life (career, finance, happiness, and relationships), I do recommend the excellent free resources of liveyourtwenties.com. Definitely a place to go, especially if you’re in your twenties something!
Connect with Florian on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/floriandoux/detail/photo/