The Pareto Principle (aka The 80-20 Rule)
This principle was first conceived in over 100 years ago by an Italian who observed that 80% of the land in his country was owned by 20% of the people. We’ve all heard in the classroom how 80% of the trouble is caused by 20% of the students. So what does this have to do with Simplicity? Actually, quite a bit:
We are all looking for efficiency in our over busy, over stuffed worlds. Figuring out what 20% matters- in what we own and what we do, would be huge. Even if it’s not 80% wasted time or unused possessions, most of us have a great deal of fat in our schedules and bloat in our stuff.
How you say?
How much of the contents of your closet never see the light of day?
How much of the stuff that lives in your garage, attic or basement should have been discarded or donated rather than boxed and stored?
How many of your children’s toys never come out of the toy box (if you were lucky enough to have them corralled to begin with)?
How much of the backlog of magazines, journals and papers will never be read?
How much of the stockpile of staples in your pantry will expire before being consumed?
How much of what’s on your calendar or agenda is productive, necessary and meaningful?
Maybe eliminating the 80% that isn’t used, enjoyed, productive and meaningful, could take you a long way toward accomplishing more of your goals. Activities and commitments that are “low value” or “no value” may need to go. The same is true of the unused, unloved, outdated clothes, toys, foodstuffs, and paper piles.
If you haven’t used something for a while, ask yourself why you are keeping it? Because I might need it one day, or it’s too much trouble to make the cull, are not good excuses. If you’re saying yes to commitments out of fear or embarrassment, reconsider your motives.
Remember, better the right 20% than the wrong 100%!