Sunday, January 10, 2010

Pareto Analysis

Have you ever heard of the Pareto Principle? Pareto was an Italian economist who came up with an analysis stating that 20% of the people held 80% of the wealth.

Since then, the Pareto Principle has been applied in a lot of ways. I commonly hear about it in books and on websites related to lifehacking.

Since being removed from a position in November, I’ve finally reached a point of having to take a long, hard look at my life. Also, last week, I listened to The Four Hour Workweek 2 1/2 times, where I was reminded of the 80/20 principle.

Lately, as I look at my life, I realize that I’ve committed a drastic error. I’ve structured my life so that I’ve been really busy. I’ve had a huge backlog of things to do. But I committed the error in that my quest to be busy has left me doing things that didn’t make me effective.

I’ve reached a point of consuming information for the sake of consuming information. I have to spend a great deal of time each day consuming information. But how much of it is valuable? Very little.

So, I’m going to look at several of my information streams from this way: which 20% gives me 80% of my value? I’ll probably do the same thing with the podcasts I listen to. I’ve already streamlined both of these fire hoses in the past, but not far enough.

I have a rack full of magazines and newsletters that I’m hard pressed to find time to read. Don’t get me started on the eBooks I’ve downloaded.

And so, as I start to streamline my life in 2010, I’m going to trim some fat. I’m going to have to stop following several blogs and information sources, and I’m going to have to stop listening to several podcasts. I also have to decide which aspects of where I spend my time mean the most to me.

What about you? Do you have any excesses in your life that need to be dealt with? Where can you start?

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