I want to delve into the Pareto Principle (aka The 80/20 Rule) because it is such a powerful way to streamline and spring clean your life.
I have to admit I came across the 80/20 rule, really rather late in life and only truly appreciated its significance when reading a book called The Four Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss (which I highly recommend, by the way - but be warned it may make you want to take a sabbatical ;-).
Most people have come across the idea that 80% of the results in your life came from 20% of the actions, or 80% of effects come from 20% of causes.
20% OF STUDENTS MAY CAUSE 80% OF THE PROBLEMS
20% OF YOUR TASKS TAKE UP 80% OF YOUR TIME
The positive angle on this could be that 80% of your happiness comes from 20% of the things you do. Equally of course, 80% of your frustration, pain etc… may come from a very small percentage of your life.
Once we start to get into emotions, mathematical reasoning may not feel so appropriate, but if we don’t get too hung up on the specific numbers and just take Pareto’s Principle into account in a more general way, we can start to see where in our life we are being most effective and where we could start cutting things out.
One of the most powerful ways to reduce our stress, increase our happiness and improve our productivity is not to take on extra activities or tasks that are supposed to improve them, but actually focus on doing more of the things that we already do that make us happy and do less of the things that cause us stress.
To start this process, answer the following two questions:
1) What are the 20% of things in your life that bring you 80% of your happiness?
Clare Martin is a the founder of the Positive Teacher Network who specialises in helping teachers to find the ultimate Work Life Balance and supports them with many of the difficulties teachers face today.
The Positive Teacher Network provides practical tips and strategies to busy, tired teachers to help them improve their lives allowing them to focus on being great teachers.