The 80 20 Rule suggests that a small number of causes often produces most of the results. This is a useful perspective for thinking about our lives in general and for your life in particular. For instance, a company might find that most of their business comes from just a few steady customers. Or a person might find that the first hour of every day is the most effective and the rest of each day just drifts by. Or a company might find that just a few salesmen bring in the bulk of its orders.
So how do we take advantage of learning what “produces” and what doesn’t? You can hope Santa will bring you success and happiness, or you can be thoughtful and “hands on” about managing your life. (Actually, I do both.) That is, you can dream a lot or you can use the 80 20 Rule. (By the way, thanks, Kymberli Brady, of San Jose Stock, for the photo of me and the old man.)
The Magnolia Jazz Band is a typical business, I’m sure. If you’re like me, you probably find that a relatively small number of factors in your life, or your business, have an enormous influence on everything else. In a minute I’ll tell you why the 80 20 Rule matters to me and why it should to you, as well.
By the way, this imbalance between cause and effect appears in many fields — economics, government, business, technology — and people often discover the ratio of “results” to “causes” approaches 80/20, though of course it’s seldom exactly that. However the ratio is a handy “rule of thumb”.
Now, as 2010 winds down, many of us are using this rule of thumb to take stock of how things went for us during the year. Whether or not we know the 80 20 Rule by name, we apply it when we decide to emphasize the most effective influences in our lives or careers, and de-emphasize the rest, in order of ineffectiveness. We don’t dwell on the specific numbers too long. Instead, we determine which factors worked out well, which ones fizzled, and act to enhance the former and diminish the latter.
Thinking about the 80 20 Rule is a useful way to prioritize and allocate our limited resources, like time, energy, health, attention, friends, or money. This is often an end-of-the-year exercise, but we really ought to do it at least several times throughout the year. However, applying the 80 20 Rule correctly can be tricky, as this interesting article from Lifehack describes, and see the handy “How To” list at the end.
Toward the end of every December I find myself reviewing the year’s ups and downs. Same with you? I’m asking lots of questions these days, looking for the factors with the best “payoff”. Every factor in my personal and business life is “on the table”, so to speak. In my opinion, the more I consider, the better. Here are just a few of my questions. Are some familiar?
- Should I strengthen this habit, break that one, or develop a new one?
- Should I join this group or leave that one?
- Should I be a better friend to this person or separate myself from that one?
- Has my typical client profile changed this year?
- Should I continue this subscription or begin a different one?
- Should I continue advertising here, or does somewhere else look more promising?
- Should I market online more, with email, social media, or something new?
Do you ever manage a project? Well, who doesn’t? Many of my colleagues either plan or collaborate on weddings and parties. The best of them surely understand how this rule applies to their events, and I discuss it in another blog about the 80 20 Rule.
In the meantime, I’m still thinking everything over, and whatever I decide, you can be sure the band will continue entertaining at weddings and parties nearly every day. If we can ever help you, please call us at 408-245-9120.
Please visit MagnoliaJazz.com for testimonials, music samples, videos, photos, and our public schedule, and catch us at an event soon. In the meantime, please join our Facebook “fans”, and you’ll get a reminder for each of our public events. Thanks for reading my blog. Am I giving you one or two good ideas? Please take a moment to SHARE this post with a friend, SUBSCRIBE to my blog for more of my thoughts, and send me a nice COMMENT.