Get More Done By Doing Less

Have you ever been so busy trying to keep up with the pace of modern life that you just can’t get anything done?  Do you find yourself constantly putting things off because you just don’t have enough time to handle them?  And what about the lack of progress that comes about as a result of never getting to the things that would make a real difference in your life?

Just from those 3 questions you have an idea of what I’m about to talk about.  Or do you?

There is a general principle that most business people know about.  This principle seems to apply to every area of life, not just business, and has been the cause of most successes or failures in life.  The principle is called the 80/20 rule, and basically says that you will get 80% of your results from 20% of your activities.

In sales, it’s the best 20% of your customers that create 80% of your wealth.  In relationships, it’s the first 20% of the time you know a person that reveals 80% of their personality.  And in personal development, it’s the final 20% of your progress that will take 80% of your time to acheive.


Took you by surprise, did I?  Yes, when you’re working on developing yourself, you will get the biggest gains in the beginning – 80% of your results will come from 20% of your activities, and the final 20% of your results will come from 80% of your activities.

What’s the real difference between those who are average and those who excel?  Aren’t the ones who excel those who spent more time developing their abilities?  Aren’t professionals expected to be better than average people?

There’s another side to the 80/20 rule.  It’s that 80% of business is done by the best 20% of those in that business.

The best 20% of all drycleaners will get 80% of the drycleaning business.  The best 20% of all doctors will get 80% of all money paid to doctors.  The best 20% of all books account for 80% of all book sales.  The best 20% of all musicians get 80% of the money spent on concert tickets and CD sales.

What’s the lesson in this?  Simple.  If you want to get the best results from your activities, be the best in what you’re doing.

But that takes work.  Time.  Committment to personal development.  The hard stuff that no-one wants to do.

Yep, that’s right.  And that’s why it works.  Because no-one else will take the time to be the best, you will have a greater chance of succeeding because you are willing to stick to it until it pays off.  You will be the one that everyone wants to go to, simply because you can do things that no-one else in your field can do, and in a way that no-one else can duplicate.

Clearly, even those with less skill than the top 20% will get results from what they do.  The top 20% only get 80% of the pie, which leaves another 20% of the pie to be shared by the lower 80%.

In business, those with less ability will still make sales and get customers.  But for every customer a business in the lower 80% gets, a business in the top 20% will get 16.

Some people will argue that the top 20% of businesses got that way because they had money behind them, investors who were willing to pay for the businesses advertising, payroll, and inventory.  Let’s think about this for a moment.  What did those investors see in this particular business that they didn’t see in another business that they chose NOT to invest in?

Let’s say you have $10 Million to invest, and 2 potential business partners come to you asking for your help in getting their business off the ground.  Which business are you most likely to invest in?  The one that looks like it will be the most successful, right?  And how would you determine that?  Most likely by the level of skills of the person involved in that business.

The best 20% of business partners get 80% of the investment capital out there.

Let’s move away from business examples for a moment and take a look at a personal example.  Relationships.

Why are some couples happier than others?  Although there are a wide variety of factors that come into play here; things like common interests, compatible personalities, and degrees of attractiveness; the bottom line in most happy relationships is that the people involved  have developed their skills in communicating and cooperation.

Those with the best relationship skills tend to have the best relationships.  And I’m sure that if we were to calculate the percentages, the familiar 80/20 rule would show itself again.

For the most part, everyone knows this:  the better you are in what you do, the better the results you will get from your activities.  But here’s the thing that most people miss:  when you’re that good at what you do, you can do less and still get the same results as before.

Why spend 40 hours a week earning a living when you can spend 5 hours and earn the same amount of money?

Why spend months working out a problem in a relationship when you can have the problem worked out in a day and be back to enjoying your partner’s company again?

Why spend your whole life trying to get noticed by the people who matter in your life, when you can spend a few months developing the right skills and have the recognition you deserve within the year?

Yes, personal development takes time, energy, and commitment.  But the rewards are more than worth the effort.