How can we do something different in our lives that will produce the biggest return for our efforts?

As we go about our daily tasks, we can usually do what it takes to get the results we want — especially if we can find the right life “hacks,” as they say today, which are nothing more than shortcuts.  Still, there is SO much to do, learn, create, and enjoy – and it seems like there’s so little time to do it all.

The principle I’m about to share with you is exactly one of those hacks.  It’s a foundational “mental model” that can help frame the way we think, and if implemented, it can provide tremendous benefits to one’s productivity.  I’ve known about this principle for quite some time but recently was reminded of its power.

So, here’s how you can “hack” the system that many of us follow today and start doing more with less.

What do Warren Buffett, John D. Rockefeller, Elon Musk, and Charlie Munger have in common?  They all use this mental model that reframes the way you think, allowing you to do MORE with LESS.


If Warren Buffett, John D. Rockefeller, Elon Musk, and Charlie Munger walked into a Bar…

I would definitely want to be a fly on the wall with a tape recorder to capture that conversation!  Why?  What do these four guys have in common other than being ultra-successful in their own areas of expertise?  They all swear by what’s known as the “80/20 Rule” or something very much like it.

The 80/20 Rule or Pareto’s Principle says that, for just about any event, 80% (or a majority) of effects are caused by 20% (or a minority) of causes.  

Italian economist and amateur gardener Vilfredo Pareto came across this concept in the early 1900s when he noticed that 20% of his pea plants produced 80% of the peas.  He later drew a parallel in economics while researching the distribution of wealth in Italy and other nations.  It might not seem like big news to us today, but at the time, he was surprised to learn that 20% of people controlled 80% of the country’s wealth.

Here are a couple quick examples of the 80/20 Rule used in business and personal affairs – and it’s not about a strict 80/20 ratio.  It could be 75/25, 82/18, or whatever.  The idea is that a small portion of anything is usually responsible for most of the results.

  • 20% of customers create 80% of revenue
  • 20% of products account for 80% of sales
  • 20% of staff cause 80% of the issues
  • 20% of staff produce 80% of productivity
  • 20% of software bugs cause 80% of software problems
  • 20% of relationships account for 80% of the love, connection, and professional advancement
  • 20% of our to-do list items account for 80% of our productivity

Economist Vilfredo Pareto’s discovery in the early 1900s that 80% of outputs are caused by 20% of inputs continues to be a powerful business management strategy even today.

If this law is true, that means that most of our days, weeks, months, years, and our entire life is dictated by a few small but important actions.  The thing is, we walk around on autopilot a lot, doing work that makes us feel productive and busy yet doesn’t reap exponential results.  Maybe, instead, we could take the time to figure out which few actions are responsible for our greatest results.  If we knew that, we could direct our full attention and efforts towards them.

On the one hand, it can seem like a lot of pressure.  It makes me wonder if I have to spend every single minute being productive, thinking about and analyzing the consequences of every action I take.  Can’t I just vegetate on the couch for a few minutes and watch the Dodgers kick butt again?

On the other hand, it‘s liberating to think that, by focusing on the most important 20% of my life (instead of spreading myself too thinly over 100% of it, something we can all relate to) I’ll be happier and more productive overall.

What’s really cool about this principle is that you can apply it to anything.  Whether your goal is to have a net worth of $10M when you retire, start a new business, or have more time to watch the Dodgers take the world series, the 80/20 Rule quickly helps cut through the noise and show you 1) where you might be wasting valuable time, and 2) a quicker, leaner way to get there.

When our team at Hughes started looking at how we could apply the 80/20 Rule, it created some unexpected breakthroughs in the way we spend our time.  We realized where the REAL leverage was in what we do every day.

Here are some ways you can start using it in your own life:

Your renewed to-do list

Write down 10 things you need to do today.  Now, single out the 2 items you consider to be the most important – your highest ROI activities.  (They’re usually the ones we procrastinate about the most!)  We have the tendency to want to get the “small things” out of the way before focusing on the more important tasks – the ones that can make the biggest difference in our lives – a big mistake.  By the way, if you take one thing away from this article, it’s that the most important things should almost always be done first.  When you wake up tomorrow morning, ask yourself, “What’s the one thing I can do right now that will drastically improve my day, and maybe even my life?”  And do it right away!

Instead of casting a wide net at business networking events, focus on the 20% of people who really get your gears turning. That’s how you’ll make the most valuable connections.

Your business relationship revamp

In his book Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals, author and financial consultant Tom Corley states that one of the top habits of wealthy people is that they’re selective about the people they choose to spend time with.  And we’ve all heard the saying, “You are the company you keep.”   Instead of casting a wide net at business networking events, focus on connecting with the 20% you really want to talk to, who challenge you, who get your gears turning.  If it all works out right, you’ll be part of their 20%, too.

Your new financial leverage points

The real power behind the 80/20 Rule is that it gives you leverage, enabling you to become hyper-focused on the few things that will bring the most desirable results.  What better way to experience this benefit than with your money and investments?

In next week’s article, I’ll show you the top ways to 80/20 your money, including how to make an “extra” $2.2 million over your lifetime. ♦

How can we do something different in our lives that will produce the biggest return for our efforts?

As we go about our daily tasks, we can usually do what it takes to get the results we want — especially if we can find the right life “hacks,” as they say today, which are nothing more than shortcuts.  Still, there is SO much to do, learn, create, and enjoy – and it seems like there’s so little time to do it all.

The principle I’m about to share with you is exactly one of those hacks.  It’s a foundational “mental model” that can help frame the way we think, and if implemented, it can provide tremendous benefits to one’s productivity.  I’ve known about this principle for quite some time but recently was reminded of its power.

So, here’s how you can “hack” the system that many of us follow today and start doing more with less.

What do Warren Buffett, John D. Rockefeller, Elon Musk, and Charlie Munger have in common?  They all use this mental model that reframes the way you think, allowing you to do MORE with LESS.


If Warren Buffett, John D. Rockefeller, Elon Musk, and Charlie Munger walked into a Bar…

I would definitely want to be a fly on the wall with a tape recorder to capture that conversation!  Why?  What do these four guys have in common other than being ultra-successful in their own areas of expertise?  They all swear by what’s known as the “80/20 Rule” or something very much like it.

The 80/20 Rule or Pareto’s Principle says that, for just about any event, 80% (or a majority) of effects are caused by 20% (or a minority) of causes.  

Italian economist and amateur gardener Vilfredo Pareto came across this concept in the early 1900s when he noticed that 20% of his pea plants produced 80% of the peas.  He later drew a parallel in economics while researching the distribution of wealth in Italy and other nations.  It might not seem like big news to us today, but at the time, he was surprised to learn that 20% of people controlled 80% of the country’s wealth.

Here are a couple quick examples of the 80/20 Rule used in business and personal affairs – and it’s not about a strict 80/20 ratio.  It could be 75/25, 82/18, or whatever.  The idea is that a small portion of anything is usually responsible for most of the results.

  • 20% of customers create 80% of revenue
  • 20% of products account for 80% of sales
  • 20% of staff cause 80% of the issues
  • 20% of staff produce 80% of productivity
  • 20% of software bugs cause 80% of software problems
  • 20% of relationships account for 80% of the love, connection, and professional advancement
  • 20% of our to-do list items account for 80% of our productivity

Economist Vilfredo Pareto’s discovery in the early 1900s that 80% of outputs are caused by 20% of inputs continues to be a powerful business management strategy even today.

If this law is true, that means that most of our days, weeks, months, years, and our entire life is dictated by a few small but important actions.  The thing is, we walk around on autopilot a lot, doing work that makes us feel productive and busy yet doesn’t reap exponential results.  Maybe, instead, we could take the time to figure out which few actions are responsible for our greatest results.  If we knew that, we could direct our full attention and efforts towards them.

On the one hand, it can seem like a lot of pressure.  It makes me wonder if I have to spend every single minute being productive, thinking about and analyzing the consequences of every action I take.  Can’t I just vegetate on the couch for a few minutes and watch the Dodgers kick butt again?

On the other hand, it‘s liberating to think that, by focusing on the most important 20% of my life (instead of spreading myself too thinly over 100% of it, something we can all relate to) I’ll be happier and more productive overall.

What’s really cool about this principle is that you can apply it to anything.  Whether your goal is to have a net worth of $10M when you retire, start a new business, or have more time to watch the Dodgers take the world series, the 80/20 Rule quickly helps cut through the noise and show you 1) where you might be wasting valuable time, and 2) a quicker, leaner way to get there.

When our team at Hughes started looking at how we could apply the 80/20 Rule, it created some unexpected breakthroughs in the way we spend our time.  We realized where the REAL leverage was in what we do every day.

Here are some ways you can start using it in your own life:

Your renewed to-do list

Write down 10 things you need to do today.  Now, single out the 2 items you consider to be the most important – your highest ROI activities.  (They’re usually the ones we procrastinate about the most!)  We have the tendency to want to get the “small things” out of the way before focusing on the more important tasks – the ones that can make the biggest difference in our lives – a big mistake.  By the way, if you take one thing away from this article, it’s that the most important things should almost always be done first.  When you wake up tomorrow morning, ask yourself, “What’s the one thing I can do right now that will drastically improve my day, and maybe even my life?”  And do it right away!

Instead of casting a wide net at business networking events, focus on the 20% of people who really get your gears turning. That’s how you’ll make the most valuable connections.

Your business relationship revamp

In his book Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals, author and financial consultant Tom Corley states that one of the top habits of wealthy people is that they’re selective about the people they choose to spend time with.  And we’ve all heard the saying, “You are the company you keep.”   Instead of casting a wide net at business networking events, focus on connecting with the 20% you really want to talk to, who challenge you, who get your gears turning.  If it all works out right, you’ll be part of their 20%, too.

Your new financial leverage points

The real power behind the 80/20 Rule is that it gives you leverage, enabling you to become hyper-focused on the few things that will bring the most desirable results.  What better way to experience this benefit than with your money and investments?

In next week’s article, I’ll show you the top ways to 80/20 your money, including how to make an “extra” $2.2 million over your lifetime. ♦