This is another mental model that you’ve likely heard of before — the Pareto Principle, often known as the “80/20 rule”, where 20% of the effort can produce 80% of the results.
A great example in my life is my big reading shortcut using Blinkist. I can “finish” a book in 20% of the time, but still get roughly 80% of the benefit from it.
As we dig in, though, know that the Pareto Principle doesn’t always need to be exactly 80/20; perhaps it’s 50/15 or 95/10. Whatever the exact number, the idea is that a subset of effort can often lead to large achievements.
Another great example is when it comes to SEO (Search Engine Optimization) on your website. While it’s generally wise to optimize as much as you can, you’ll often find that 80% of the traffic arriving to your site from Google only land on 20% of your pages.
I just looked at the GreenMellen stats for July, and it matches up almost perfectly. 2,373 people landed on 281 different pages of our site. However, the top 45 pages (16% of pages) where were roughly 80% of users (1896) landed. The other 236 pages were certainly valuable, but just a fraction of our traffic came through those.
Keep some, lose some
As you identify 80/20 areas in your life, you’ll find some are worth keep and some are worth losing. Your town may discover that 80% of the traffic is on 20% of the roads, but the rest of the roads are likely worth keeping… On the other hand, if your company derives 80% of their revenue from 20% of their clients, a consolidation might make sense.
To chew on it a bit more, here is a great list of 100 potential 80/20 situations you might see. Some may be valid, others not, but it’s a good list to get you started thinking about this.