This is a guest contribution from Garik Himebaugh.
If you do in fact live in a cave, I suggest you move somewhere with plumbing… and people.
While widely mentioned and talked about, the principle is sadly misunderstood and given much less attention than it deserves. From skeptics to those that glaze over the idea too quickly, there is much to be learned from careful consideration of this idea.
Hacking the 80/20 Rule to Turbocharge Your Blogging Results
In this article we will dive deep into what the 80/20 Principle is not, what it is, and how you can use it to turbocharge your results on your blog – from the time you put in to the output you get.
What is the 80/20 Rule?
Basically, it is the rule that 80% of your results come from 20% of effort. It’s working smarter, not harder.
What 80/20 is Not
First, 80/20 is not an all-encompassing philosophy. It does not have to be applied to every aspect of your life for it to be effective in your life.
Too often people get stuck trying to apply this principle to everything and creating a lot of noise about how it didn’t apply to a very particular situation and how they’re so brilliant for uncovering the fallacy. The fact is you don’t have to apply it to every aspect of your life and that is perfectly fine – it can still work for say, diet, or housework, or blogging. If you’ve tried it before somewhere, and it didn’t work, it doesn’t mean it’s not a successful principle.
There’s no limit to what you could do with it, but don’t fail to see the forest for the trees. Get your head out of the weeds and realize the incredible value being presented for those ambitious enough to take it.
Secondly, the numbers aren’t literal and don’t need to equal 100. 80/20 is the example ratio but the actual numbers will vary and need not add up to 100.
For example, 10% of your productive time could reap 77% of your achievement. These numbers aren’t literally 80/20, they don’t equal 100, and that is perfectly fine. Take the idea of segmenting your time and apply it to your own circumstances. Hack it to suit your needs.
What 80/20 Reveals
The 80/20 principle tells us that life isn’t fair. Results are not 50/50.
You can put in lots of effort and get no reward. You could spend all of your time on something you’re bad at and get marginal results, while your peer spends 20% of their time on something they rock at and are getting massive results.
The perfect example of this is wealth distribution where 20% of the people owned 80% of the land. Transform to current times, and the top 1% of Americans own 40% of the nation’s wealth.
The moral is to work smarter, not harder. Or better yet, work smarter and harder, applying your work ethic in a focused way to the area where you perform at your highest.
The Good News
The good news about the uneven relationship between inputs and outputs is that if you understand this principle, you can tip the uneven scales in your favor.
By making use of this you can cut back on the 80% of your time which yields only 20% of your results and multiply the 20% that yields 80% of your results. You can focus your energy where you are best and receive disproportionate results.
To take a closer look at the benefits let’s dive into some examples of the principle in action.
Alesei spends 85% of her time at work in meetings, checking email, doing administrative tasks, getting distracted by her coworkers (especially managers), and doing “busy work”. She only spends 15% of her time making sales, which is the most productive thing she does, yielding 90% or her results.
That’s a 15/90 relationship, so just imagine how much her performance will increase if she doubles her time making sales. Now you might be thinking that the things she does in the other 85% of her time need to be done, but does it really? And specifically by her?
When Alesei analyzed her time she found lots of waste in there, lots of meetings that she could get out of, and busy work that she could delegate to others. When Alesei doubled and tripled her sales, her managers certainly didn’t complain.
Joe spends 80% of his time doing things that only give him 20% achievement or happiness. This could include activities like chores, watching TV, obsessively checking email, surfing the web, stalking people on social media and the list goes on.
Joe also spends 20% of his time working on his small business and playing music, both of which bring him 70% of the happiness and achievement in his life. What Joe realizes is that cutting back on the wasteful activities and increasing time working on his business and playing music increases his sense of accomplishment and happiness.
Let’s say with the time Joe carved out of the wasteful 80%, he now spends 40% of his time on his business and music, effectively doubling his results. If you were Joe, what would you do?
Sarah, a freelance writer, finds that just 10% of her clients eat up 70% of her time because they are difficult to work with. This only leaves her with 30% of her time to spend on the other 90% of her clients who bring her the most revenue.
How would you proceed in this scenario where you have a 10/70 relationship? There are several options but Sarah wants to stop working with the 10% of her clients that cause her all this stress. This extra time will allow her to reach out to her best clients for more work and even to get more clients like them, thus resulting in more profit.
As the examples demonstrate, our efforts are not usually maximized for efficiency. Our best efforts are only accounting for a smaller fraction of our total time.
Increasing the effective variables while decreasing the wasteful ones can multiply results by factors of 2x, 5x, 10x, and the possibilities are endless.
As bloggers you can apply these examples in three ways:
- The first is to analyze what you do when you’re working and cut back on wasteful activities whether it’s checking email too frequently, researching without a purpose, spending excessive time consuming social media, etc. Instead spend more time on what gets you the most results whether it’s writing, reaching out to current clients or brands for more work, researching your niche, creating useful, shareable content, or working on your products or services.
- The second lesson is to look at how much time you spend on your writing versus other areas of your life. If you need to spend more time on work and less in areas where you’re wasting time, you can adjust accordingly. If you have a good life/work balance this may be unnecessary.
- The third lesson is to look at your work that directly earns money, spend more time on the things that increase that income, and perhaps spend less time on the avenues that aren’t as successful.
Now that you see the value of using the 80/20 principle, how do you apply this generally to turbocharge your results in blogging? Read on…
How to Utilize 80/20 in Your Life
- Think about the times when you achieve at your highest level. What are you doing and what are you accomplishing in those moments? Take 15 minutes and really think about this question, writing down your answers.
- Now that you’ve got the answers, how can you make more time to do what you’re best at, whether it’s play more music, write more, do more problem solving work, or whatever you are best at. Take 10 minutes and make a plan for increasing those activities and make it actionable.
- By increasing the time on your 20% activities, you will naturally cut into the 80% of less effective, less happiness bearing activities. However, if you’re ambitious, go ahead and analyze what you spend most of your time doing and identify waste, cutting back on those uses of your time.
How to Use 80/20 in your Blogging
- Spend less time creating and more time promoting
- Spend less time writing a post just to get something up, and spend more time on your money-making projects like eBooks or courses
- Spend less time promoting on social media and more time engaging with others
- Spend less time on busy work – emailing, admin, images, and more time on creating. Get yourself a schedule that makes rote tasks easy and within a certain timeframe of your day, and stick to it. This will help you free up your time for bigger-picture ideas and creative endeavours.
Now you can see the power of the 80/20 Principle and how to leverage it to improve your life – and your blog. Whether you turbocharge your productivity, increase your performance, or boost your freelancing and client work in order to perform at your highest level the majority of your time, there is a lot of benefit to be found.
How do you see yourself applying the 80/20 Principle to boost your blogging? Please share in the comments.
Garik Himebaugh helps people turbocharge their results at Turbo Results. In the last couple years, he went from someone who wasted most of his free time, had $20k in debt, and social anxiety, to becoming organized, debt free, and super-productive.