2023 June 13 Maximize your 80%!

Jun 13, 2023

Hi, this is Jim Cranston from 7EveryMinute and 7EveryMinute.com, the podcast and website about re-imagining your life. Thanks for joining me tonight to talk about prioritizing your 80%. So let's get started. If you like what you hear tonight, please leave a like and tell your friends and send me a message.


First off, what do I mean by your 80%? You've probably heard of the 80/20 rule, also known as the Pareto principle, described by Vilfredo Pareto, an Italian polymath. He was a civil engineer, sociologist, an economist, a political scientist, and a philosopher. This is based on his economics work. He lived from 1848 to 1923. Fundamentally, the Pareto principle, or the 80/20 rule, posits that 80% of your results come from 20% of your efforts. I holds up surprisingly well over a wide range of conditions and situations. 


In our individual lives, when you really think about it, no matter how you want to measure it, you'll generally notice that same sort of ratio of high productivity versus the total time expended. Roughly 20% of your time, you do amazing things, but not the other 80% of the time. It's stuff that needs to be done, but things just don't move as quickly. We like to think of life as going along in a nice linear fashion, but it usually doesn't. Our mind plays tricks on us. But if you look at what we really spend time on, there is a breakdown between productive time and all the rest of the time. 


A lot of times, we try to do everything. Most of us have a tendency to try to do the whole job from beginning to end, rather than really trying to do what we're really good at. I know I'm certainly guilty of this. I could call somebody to do the lawn, but I'd rather do it myself, even though they show up with this great big mower and a team of two other people, and they're in and out in 25 minutes. I'm working on it for the whole morning.


But there's a natural tendency for a lot of us to do everything ourselves. It's good in one way, because you learn lots of skills, and you get better at a lot of different things, but you also don't make the best use of your time. 


Sometimes, the reality of the situation is that you have no other alternatives. If you're a parent, for example, you can't just hand off cooking and cleaning to somebody else and only spend quality time with the kids, if you can't afford domestic help or a live-in nanny. 


There are things that you do with your family that you're really good at and that you enjoy and all your energy comes out, and when you do those things, time passes very quickly for you and for everyone else involved. Then there are things that you really don't feel like you are very good at, but feel like you have to do. Maybe you don't really like to cook, but you try your best. You give it your best shot, Yet still, it's not something that you really enjoy doing. 


I want to preface this by saying that this is not critical in any way of any specific person, in any particular situation or anything. This is just an example. I'll also say that I'm honored to know a couple people who've been in exactly this situation and found ways to rebalance their lives, to play to their strengths and it has completely changed their lives. You may feel like you won't be able to get there, but there's always hope that you can  work through a situation to find something where you can spend more time doing what you're really good at. 


The reason for this whole whole idea came to mind  based upon two events. I've been following these two gentlemen, Dan Sullivan and Dr. Benjamin Hardy, and they have a book and a website all about how when you want to improve, no matter what it is, that going 10x as big or 10x better is easier than improving only 2x.


The other reason was a personal situation I was in recently where I ended up investing a large amount of personal time doing essentially menial labor to help someone else. There was a pretty high personal cost to it because I wasn't working on projects to move my own life forward, doing something that probably anybody could do. There were a few things probably that I did better than other people might have, but the bulk of it could have easily been handled by any competent adult capable of following basic directions, so it wasn't really an optimal use of my time. 


In both these examples, both the overworked parent and the underutilized weekend, there's this hidden concept of 10x is easier than 2x. To be clear, I'm not saying that it's easy to improve by 10x on something. It isn't easy, but getting to 2x isn't easier either, especially if you're trading money for time, such as an employee, an individual contractor, labor, or many other jobs where you're paid less for your specific skills and more for just showing up.


So if you're looking at your life, and really want to improve, maybe double your salary, I suggest that maybe you can rearrange your life a little bit. That doubling your salary or doubling your time with your kids, doing 2x, you might be able to do a lot more than that if you can leverage the things that you're really good at.


So let's go back to making the most of that 80% of our lives where we're just doing stuff that doesn't leverage our skills or interest. Remember, this isn't about maximizing your money necessarily. It's about maximizing your life in whatever form it is that leads you towards your vision.


You know, if sitting around shelling peas and husking corn brings you inner peace and calmness, then that's what you should be doing with your time. Even if you could instead be consulting as a physicist or a stock trader (maybe that's your day job), maybe when you get home, the only thing you want to do is just sit and smell the vegetables as you're working on them, and it brings you peace and calmness.


Peace in your life is a really essential component of living, and that has a high personal value too. This isn't about maximizing money, it's about maximizing the overall happiness and joy and contentment in your own life. That leaves us with all these things that we really aren't interested in doing. They don't particularly bring us pleasure, but they really can't be ignored. 


It may be things that we need or want to do in pursuit of our goals, in pursuit of our vision, but really we're either not good at them or we're not interested in doing them. We all have things like that. That's okay. You don't have to be good at everything. We started off saying that, often we want to do everything to bring a project from start to completion but there are areas that we know we just dread doing. But we'll just trudge through, because that's what you've got to do to get there.


This whole 80/20, 10x / 2x rule is really saying something different. It's saying to focus on the 20% where you're really good, and do as much of that as you can, and then on the things in the 80% that you're really not good at doing, or not interested in doing - the things that on't bring you pleasure, see what you can do to get those off of your plate and onto somebody who is good at doing them.


It's what managing your 80% is all about. We all have things that we're good at doing. It's always fun to watch a real master at some task, either physical or mental, do something. I'll look at that person and be amazed that they can effortlessly do something in seconds. Better than I could if I spend half the morning trying to do it, I see people do this in woodworking. I see them do it in a lot of arts and craft things. It'salways fun to watch a real expert in a field do something. We each have talents that others are amazed at.


We all have things that others are amazed at. The goal then, is to figure out what they are, and then try to arrange our lives such that we can focus on those aspects and get help from other people for the things that we aren't as good at, or aren't interested in doing. This can happen in many ways. There's good old fashioned informal barter. If you help me clean the house, I'll do your nails or help organize your bills.


Then there's the more formal route of starting a business, either a local business or a virtual, online business. This is exactly what so many of the online courses are doing. So instead of barter, money is used, but it's often just one person with a skill trading their expertise for some money, which you got by using your expertise.


But it's important to realize that you don't have to go start a business to make use of this. If you love to teach kids to play piano, and your friend is a neat freak with three kids who need music lessons, there's an opportunity for both of you to improve each other's lives. I hope you're starting to see that the concept of focusing on your strengths and getting someone else to cover your weak areas can be used and useful in many ways. 


This used to happen naturally when people spent more time visiting with neighbors. People would just naturally chip in and help with a problem, and they'd get paid back with fresh cookies or a surprise dinner. They'd come over and help you with something you were having trouble with.


But society has changed, and we've kind of forgotten that. We all have strengths and weaknesses, but by working together in many different ways, we can start to really make all our lives better without having to work a hundred hours a week or be an Instagram star. In modern society, we've gotten into this very formalized point of view. Everything has to be done in a formal way. We have to put up a sign and advertise that we have these skills. It's still fair to just talk to your neighbors, and just chat with them, and and keep your ears open. Think about it. There are lots of opportunities all around us. Don't get focused that it has to be online. Don't get focused that everything has to be so formal. 


That's it for the week. We'll revisit this topic again, and we'll share some more tips and tricks. Your homework (optional, of course) is to look for your strengths and think about how you could use them to help someone else. Bonus points if you can also come up with some people to help out with things that you really don't feel like doing, and see if it might work out that you could really help each other by working as a team. 


That's it for the evening.


Of course, UKR7.com. Ukraine right now is in an even more tenuous situation. The dam was bombed, and all sorts of things are going on. Please remember the people in Ukraine, or anyone in need. There are plenty of disasters in the world. Think about helping someone else if you can. We have a link to the World Central Kitchen: WCK..org. They help people throughout the world. If, for whatever reason, you're not interested in helping the Ukrainian people right now, go to go to WCK.org. 


There are lots of places in the world that can always use some assistance. I would encourage you to do something because the best way to care for yourself is to care for others. It takes the focus off of you and your problems, and you realize all the ways which you can help other people. It's just a win-win for everybody. So if you can and you're able, please check it out and do something to help someone. 


As always, thank you for stopping by. If you found something interesting or useful, please pass that along and please hit that like button. If not, please jot me a comment as to what you'd like to hear. Have a great week. Remember to live the life that you dream of, because that's the path to true contentment. Love and encouragement to everyone. See you next week on 7EveryMinute and 7EveryMinute.com. Thank you.


Stay connected with news and updates!

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.
Don't worry, your information will not be shared.

We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.