Achieve More With Less

Richard Koch sat in a library at university in Oxford (England, not Ohio) and discovered the works of Vilfredo Pareto. Pareto was studying wealth in late 19th Century Italy and discovered that 20% of the people owned 80% of the wealth. And it was roughly the same in England. And in other countries.

Koch thought about that and eventually brought his thinking into a coherent statement in the book The 80/20 Principle: The Secret to Achieving More with Less. Tim Ferriss used the same thinking when he reorganized the way he worked at his health food distributorship so that he could take time off for vacationing and experiences while still earning a substantial income which he also chronicled in The 4-Hour Work Week.

Koch expanded the idea that 20% of your resources (time, effort, money, etc.) give you about 80% of your outcomes (happiness, income, etc.).

20% of your study time yields 80% of your learning. You could figure out where you are getting less return on your study and emphasize what you do in the 20%. Maybe you spend 80% of your prayer time worrying about getting the cup of coffee or tea and getting the chair just right and only spend 20% actually praying. Realizing that, perhaps you reorganize to emphasize what that effective 20% is and feel better because you’ve increase your effective prayer time and perhaps saved some time.

Some people have taken this idea too far, of course, just like they can take other teachings or insights too far. But if you can get done with what you need to in less time, then you have time for other things you want to do. Read that stack of novels. Walk in the woods. Travel to other cities and countries (when we can travel again).

As you know, I have eclectic reading habits. Maybe I want to know everything about everything. Or, maybe I find insight in almost everything I read–even murder mysteries and business books.

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