Productivity Hacks: How The 80/20 Rule Will Transform Your New Year
Every day we have a common set of thoughts running through our head. These thoughts, feelings and ultimately actions are driving us toward certain goals, outcomes and results. But too often we find ourselves running on a treadmill of endless tasks, chasing feelings of satisfaction. There are so many different actions we could be taking but how do we know which ones are going to actually produce results? This is where the 80/20 rule comes in handy.
The 80/20 rule states that roughly 80% of effects come from 20% of causes. According to Wikipedia (I know, great source) It was named after the Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto who observed that 80% of income in Italy was received by 20% of the Italian population. The assumption is that most of the results in any situation are determined by a small number of causes. So which of your tasks are producing the most results? It’s all about focusing on these. This strategy will 10x your productivity. But first, let me share one of my experiences using the 80/20 rule.

How I finished my University Degree with Honours without going to class

Ok, that’s not entirely true. I did go to class, but only about 20% of the classes. If I felt like I could more efficiently learn a subject I would read lecture slides from the comfort of home instead of driving to uni and listening to the lecturer read off the lecture slides. I could do this in a quarter of the time and save an hour of driving. If I didn’t understand a topic or principle well enough or had any questions, I would write a list and visit my lecturer once a week to find answers. And in some cases I didn’t even read all my lecture slides. I would only read the ones related to the assignment questions.

In addition, I found a pattern in types of questions that would be on each exam. At least 75% of my exams were based on the major assignments given throughout the semester. So to receive at least a 75% mark in my exam, I just had to make sure I understood every question from my previous assignments. To me, university felt like a breeze. But I’m no more intelligent than you. Everyone has the same potential, you just need the right strategies or productivity hacks in place.

More than just a productivity hack…

The 80/20 rule is so much more than just a productivity hack. It’s a way of life.


True productivity is a feeling of satisfaction not an arbitrary number of tasks you ticked off your to-do list.

Most people think of the 80/20 rule as a way to simply get more work related things done. I believe this rule is just as important in your personal life as it is in your work life. It helps direct my path through life by focusing on the top 3 things that provide me the most satisfaction. These are:

  1. Travelling
  2. Connecting with others
  3. Outdoor Activities like hiking and snowboarding

As you can imagine, I’ve setup my lifestyle so that I’m continuously travelling around the world, connecting with others and doing fun stuff along the way. Right now I’m spending a winter season snowboarding at the Kicking Horse Mountain Resort in Golden, British Columbia. Next will be a Euro trip. Because my life revolves around the things that provide me the most satisfaction and happiness, I am now living my dream. It’s not just a saying, it’s the way you should be living. I reassess my top 3 organically rather than after set periods, but I would suggest doing this at least annually. The one thing that does change for me are the types of outdoor activities. For example, recently my outdoor activities have changed from scenic road tripping, camping and hiking to enjoying the adrenaline rush of snowboarding.

Whatever you enjoy the most, revolve your life around it.

Actions: Applying the 80/20 Rule

When it comes to mastering the 80/20 rule, you have to apply it to everything you do. Apply it to your business, to your relationships, to your health, to your lifestyle, to everything. In addition to simply applying the rule to everything in your life:

  1. Which of your tasks are producing the best results? Focus on these!
  2. Write down the TOP 3 things that provide you the most satisfaction.
  3. Take control of your life and begin making changes so that everything revolves around your top 3.

Simple yet effective. The 80/20 rule will transform your new year, but only if you implement it.


Looking to start a passion project in 2018? Check out this article on how to turn your passion into a business.

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