Vilfredo Pareto saved my Sanity

Who exactly is Vilfredo Pareto and why in the world am I writing about him? After all, the dude’s been dead for almost 100 years.

It’s because he came up with a principle called Pareto’s Principle that specifies an unequal relationship between inputs and outputs. The principle states that, for many phenomena, 20% of invested input is responsible for 80% of the results obtained. To simplify things, it means that most of your effort will be wasted. You just have to figure out what work will give you the results that you want the part. Easier said than done.

I first heard about Pareto’s Principle while reading the 4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss. If you’ve yet to read it, I highly recommend it. You’ll be mind blown.

So how can you use Pareto’s Principle, also known as the 80/20 rule, in your life?

It means that:

  • You live in 20% of your house 80% of the time.
  • You cook 20% of the meals in your cook book 80% of the time.
  • You wear 20% of the clothes in your drawers 80% of the time.
  • You use 20% of your car’s space 80% of the time.
  • 80% of your productivity happens in 20% of the time you spend at work.
  • You gain 80% of your profits from 20% of the stocks in your portfolio.
  • A business will gain 80% of it’s profits from selling 20% of their styles.
  • 80% of your sales will come from 20% of your accounts with your business.
  • 80% of the things you remember will come from 20% of the classes you took.

The percentages won’t be perfectly 80-20 each time but you can count on the fact that they will be disproportionate.

You can use this principle in every aspect of your life to become more productive, less frustrated, and more focused on what matters the most.

No more burning the midnight oil to make you look busy and think that you’re being productive.

I decided to dissect the statistics of my blog to become more efficient in this area of my life. I wanted to cut all the fluff to focus on what was the most crucial to reach certain goals that I’ve set.

Here’s what I found out:

  • 4% of my blog posts accounted for 38% of my views. Clearly, quality is more important than quantity. I’ll tend to only post once a week on Wednesdays from now on unless there is a pertinent topic that needs to be published right away.
  • 3 sources accounted for 85% of my traffic. Some places have more influence than others. I need to focus on these.
  • The Inspiration series and Being More Grateful Series accounted for only 2% of views. You guys aren’t really interested in what inspires me or what makes me more grateful so I’ll stop talking about that.
  • The 180k Word Challenge was not a very popular idea as it got less than 0.5% of my total views. It forced me to create work for work’s sake. It made me write even if it was shit….even if I knew that the topic I was writing about probably would never be posted. Talk about being inefficient! (If you’re really wondering, I’m up to over 15,000 words in 22 days.) I’ve written a lot of words but most posts are either incomplete or way too wordy just so I can accomplish some bullshit goal I made up for myself. I’ll no longer be pursuing this goal. Sometimes what you don’t do is more important than what you do.
  • You guys aren’t really interested in interviews as this post received less than 1% of total views so those will no longer occur or at least be suspended for the time-being.
  • I no longer have a goal of quitting my job by the end of the year to become a writer. I literally can write each and every day; that’s no problem. But that doesn’t mean that it’s all quality and publishable. I’d also just be trading one boss for another; one set of bullshit rules for another. I’d still be limited with what I can and can’t do and when and how I’d have to do it. No thanks.
  • Posts where I rant are most popular. I get more emotional when I write these kinds of posts and I think you can see it in my words. If I can get a reaction out of you and/or got you thinking, then that post did it’s job. These are the types of posts that I’ll put most of my efforts into.

By cutting back on how often I post, I hope to increase the quality of my posts instead of simply trying to stick to a set deadline each and every week for who knows what reason.

It’ll also give me more time to plan and make my escape from the Financial Industry which is one of my main goals in life right now.

The sooner I can do that, the sooner I’ll be happy with every aspect of my life and the happier my wife and family will be and the better quality my posts will be.

I’m excited for things to come.

I hope you are too.

Keep on pursuing your dreams and don’t be afraid to switch things up from time to time.

We’ll all get there some day soon as long as we put in the work.

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15 comments

  1. I’ve read of this before but have never considered applying it to my life. I don’t have any stats to base it off of so it’d just be a shot in the dark. In any case, some of your stats were dead on. The grateful list was a great exercise for you but I don’t think it did anything for your readers. I hardly recall the interview post at this point. And of course the rants got the most reads. Speaking from the heart, anger, the passion connects with people. Always wishing you the best, Marc. I enjoy your blog and what you have to say.

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    • You could maybe relate it to your builds….maybe 20% of parts made up 80% of your budget or 20% of certain steps take up 80% of the time you spend on a project? There’s also 80% of your stress is caused by 20% of how you spend your time. (If you’re anything like me, 95% is caused by my job.) There’s also 80% of your “extra money” is spent on 20% of things. I could go on and on but hopefully those are some good thinking points.

      Thanks for being around since the beginning, Tony. It’s been fun so far!

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  2. Those are some great points especially about the clothes usage. I probably do only cycle through 20% of my clothes at any given time (except work clothes). That’s also great seeing stats on posts, content and views. I haven’t analyzed ours, but I find the rant style ones tend to get more comments than inspiration ones like you pointed out. My fave was my April Fools day post about using Monte carlo simulations to increase my odds of winning at the track, betting on horses. It only took about 15 minutes to write, but it’s still my fave. I also find it easier to write when I’m emotionally connected to the topic, which is why you won’t see a lot of math, budget analysis, and the like in my posts. I let Mrs. SSC handle that stuff. Great post, and great analysis of your posts. Makes me think I should do the same.

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      • Thanks! I had fun writing it, and I think it came through in the post. When I get more free time, I may try something an analysis like that. Who knows, maybe it could be a side hustle, lol.

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  3. Yes — I really like this — and yes, it’s so true. However I LOVE the gratitude strategy (and until my computer refused to cooperate, was preparing to comment on that post). Years ago, we bought a new home — where we currently live and LOVE our lives!!! — but the “old” home just wouldn’t sell. Two years of paying two mortgages! I remember waking up one New Year’s morning and saying to my husband, “We are going to make a list of all the things we are grateful for that this home HASN’T sold yet.” (to show you how AWESOME my husband, Rick, is — he agreed!) Because of the house NOT selling: * Rick had gotten closer with our old neighbors * I had gotten closer to God and increased my faith and prayer life — and a formidable gratitude list ensued. In a few months, we accepted a low offer, and sold the house — still with $100,000 debt in the form of a second mortgage. But all was not lost!!! By keeping with our gratitude, by staying upbeat and in faith, several years later, our lender actually FORGAVE us that debt!!!!!

    You will do well self-employed! I should know, as I have been self-employed since 1979! Through the years I’ve discovered that the Spiritual aspect is actually more important than the physical. Yes, we do the work, take the steps, be the best at our services possible. But we hold the whole thing in the context of: All things work together for good . . . :))

    https://journalofdawn.wordpress.com/my-yoda-story/

    https://journalofdawn.wordpress.com/?s=you+can+do+anything

    https://journalofdawn.wordpress.com/2014/08/05/my-miracle-book/

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    • Great story and great posts!

      I’ll still be listing things which I’m grateful for but I just won’t post them.

      Every night while I try to fall asleep, I list off all the things I’m grateful for before I nod off. It’s random and I just say whatever comes to mind. I’m not sure how long I’ve done it but I can tell that my outlook and attitude has improved tremendously lately.

      I think that hard work can only get you so far; you also need gratefulness and the right attitude as well and great things will find their way into your life much like when your lender forgave your debt 🙂

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      • Yes! When I read your post about the money you spent on your car, I honestly thought of all the money I’ve “wasted” in my life, but I can’t regret any of it — because everything has worked out so beautifully. But that only could happen by going up to the higher levels of making peace with Life and looking for the good in whatever happens.

        You are young and starting out — by making your decisions from the highest place you can, by always striving for being and living your best — rest assured that it will ALL work out. Live your life from knowing that all is well. I think that advice would have helped me not be so stressed out in my younger years :))

        Here’s a great little book that a friend turned me on to that really helped: The Game of Life and How to Play it by Florence Scovel Shinn — written in the 1920s.

        http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/626159.The_Game_of_Life_and_How_to_Play_It

        http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1614270791?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

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      • Everything happens for a reason 🙂

        You can’t let your past keep you from a better present but you can have it influence you to make better decisions!

        I’ll have to check out that book. Thanks!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Nice! I’m a huge believer in what you’re writing about here – and I never invest more effort than what I believe I’ll directly benefit from. Working longer isn’t necessarily working smarter. I have a whole post lined up that talks a little bit more about this next week.

    And it’s true about rant posts. It’s interesting how much people love to read about rants. I should probably rant a bit more on my blog, in fact. Just…get that aggression out through the written word. Problem is I need something to be upset about. 🙂

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    • “Working longer isn’t necessarily working smarter.” -Exactly. And it’s not being lazy either, it’s being more efficient.

      I’m not sure why people like rants so much; I guess it’s just me saying what people are feeling 🙂

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  5. Fascinating analysis. I’m glad to read (in the comments) that you plan to continue your gratitude exercise even if you are no longer publishing it on the blog. And since you no longer plan to quit your job by the end of the year, I’ll be interested to see what your new goals and plans end up being. Good luck, as always!

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