Could 80/20 Hold The Key To Success In Life?

Can you imagine how different your life would be if things were easier and simpler?

There would be:

  • Fewer headaches at the office…
  • Consistent cash flow every month…
  • Plenty money left after paying bills…
  • Less time spent at work…
  • More free time to spend as you please…

Unfortunately, all too often life is far from easy and simple:

  • There are long days at the office, and there’s too much to do.
  • There’s not enough money left after you pay all your bills.
  • There’s too much time spent at work, away from family and friends.
  • And there’s rarely time left over for yourself.

And sadly, that’s the reality for most business owners.

But not for all…!

There are business owners who work regular schedules. They rarely work on weekends, enjoy consistent cash flow, generate more than enough revenue, and even take vacations.

So now the question is…

  1. How do they do it?
  2. What are they doing differently?
  3. And how can you get results similar to theirs?

But before I continue, let me say this…

Compared to the average business, a small healthcare practice might find it challenging to get to “simple and easy.”

What do I mean by that?

Well, it’s simple. Unlike other businesses, you can’t just ask Mary Jo from the front desk to see patients for you; it doesn’t work like that. Seeing patients is something only you or someone with your credentials can do.

Now compare this to the small shop owner who needs to step away from the business for the day. As long as there is an employee trained to handle phone calls or run the cash register, the owner can simply leave.

This difference makes it seem more difficult for small offices to organize their activities in a way that creates “simpler and easier.”

So let me ask, do you believe it’s possible for you to create “simpler and easier?”

Well, since I can’t hear your answer, here’s what I believe.

Yes, you can create simple and easy, but you have to be smart about it. You must use your resources wisely… plan, organize and systematize to accomplish your goals.

The 80/20 Rule

And this is where the 80/20 principle, also known as the 80/20 rule, enters the picture. In case you’re not familiar with the principle, here is some background.

The 80/20 principle, also known as the Pareto principle, is named after Vilfredo Pareto, an Italian economist who lived last century.

Pareto noticed that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by just 20% of the population. He soon realized this phenomenon applied equally to other areas of life.

Originally the principle was applied to business alone; today, it’s applied across the board. 

Every Day 80/20 Examples

Now let’s see if you agree with these observations:

  • You spend your time on the same 20% of activities, 80% of the time.
  • You eat the same 20% of vegetables, 80% of the time.
  • You wear the same 20% of clothing, 80% of the time.
  • You watch the same 20% TV shows, 80% of the time.

And how about this?

  • 20% of your patients give you 80% of the trouble.
  • 20% of your patients give you 80% of joy in your work.
  • 20% of employees get 80% of the work done in the office.
  • 20% of insurance carriers account for 80% of all headaches.

Do you agree with these statements? And have you noticed the 80/20 rule in your life before?

While we may not consciously be aware of the principle, I think most of us have noticed it at one time or another. Unfortunately though, all too often we forget about it.

Since it’s a small percentage of activities that give us our biggest results, wouldn’t it make sense to zoom in on that 20 % to maximize results?

I think so…

But instead, most of us muddle our way through life without taking the Pareto principle into account, often achieving far less than we’re capable of accomplishing.

80/20 Can Improve Your Life

The 80/20 principle touches every aspect of your life. And that’s why it’s important to focus on what yields the greatest results and perhaps let go of what returns little or no results.

Think about it; why keep doing something if you don’t get results?

So if you want to achieve more in your business and personal life, start with identifying the activities that give you the greatest results; in other words, you want to get “the most bang for your buck.”

Let’s look at an 80/20 example from your business… insurance companies.

Of all the insurance companies you work with, which one is the best? Which company consistently pays on time, without requiring multiple phone calls or rebills?

Assuming comparable reimbursement rates, wouldn’t it make sense to do more work with this company rather than working with others that routinely pay late or not at all?

But I know insurance tends to be a bit more complicated than that. So let’s look at another example from your business.

What results are you getting from your marketing efforts? Do you know which activity yields the most results… bang for your buck? And do you know which one doesn’t do anything to attract new patients to your office?

  • Did new patients call your office because they found your website or came across your FB page?
  • Did new patients find your e-letter, liked it and consequently called the office?
  • Or are most of your new patients the result of referrals?

Knowing which activity brings in the majority of new patients is golden. And you want to focus on that activity and do more of it while letting go of things that don’t work.

And what about your personal life; does the 80/20 rule still apply?

Absolutely, and here’s an example.

What do you do to relax, rejuvenate? Do you read a good book, watch a movie, meet friends for a drink, go out for a run, or soak in the tub?

Whatever it may be, identify what works best for you and do more of it.  Don’t get sidetracked by doing things that work great for others, but do little for you.

Leverage the 80/20 rule; take care of yourself by engaging in activities that work best for you, and eliminate or reduce activities that do little to help you relax and rejuvenate.

Because when you take of yourself, you’ll come back refreshed, and ultimately get more done.

In Summary…

The 80/20 principle states that 80% of your results stem from 20% of your efforts. In other words, a few things you do are responsible for most of your results.

So if you want to get better results, apply the 80/20 principle to everything you do in your life.

And it’s simple…

  1. Identify the 20% that get you the biggest results and do more of it.
  2. Identify the 80% that return few or mediocre results, and do less of it.

Once you start viewing the world through the 80/20 lens, you’ll see it all around you. And when you approach your personal life, your work or business with the 80/20 rule in mind, you’ll be amazed at how your actions shift and what you can accomplish.


We’d love to know what you think… share your thoughts below.

By Johanna Hofmann, MBA, LAc; regular contributor to the NPBusiness blog and author of “Smart Business Planning for Clinicians.

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