Do you want to be effective? Then you need to focus only on a few important things. This is the essence of the 80/20 rule. Unfortunately, it’s easier said than done. You might try to simplify your life only to find that you are still doing too many things at once. You might try to simplify your life and still be overwhelmed by your responsibilities.
But why does it happen? Why is it often difficult to apply the 80/20 rule? I think one important reason is that we lack the willingness to let go.
Just think about it. If you focus only on the top 20% then you need to let go the rest 80%. Imagine doing ten things and then letting go eight of them. I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t sound easy to me.
But focus is essential so it’s important to build the willingness to let go. The better you are at it, the more you can focus without being distracted along the way.
Here are four lessons I learn that help build the willingness to let go:
1. You can’t do everything you want. No matter how hard you try, you can’t do everything you want. You simply don’t have enough time and willpower to do them. You will always have to choose and you will always miss something. Some people don’t like to miss something but that’s how life works. Be aware that you can’t do everything you want and it will be easier for you to let go.
2. Focus is necessary to go through failure period. To be successful at something, there’s a period of failure you must go through. You can only go through it if you focus your effort. Being all over the place means that you will never do that and you will end up in failure. Only by letting go can you have the focus necessary to achieve something valuable.
3. You will get more than what you miss. By letting go you will miss something. But you will eventually get more than what you miss. The higher level of focus allows you to achieve a level of success that would be impossible otherwise. Just you need to remember that you won’t be successful overnight so you need to have the faith that you’ll make it.
4. If something is really important, it will get back to you.You might worry that you will miss something important. But remind yourself that if something is truly important, it will somehow get back to you. It could be through the people around you or through other channels. If it doesn’t, then it’s not that important.
Photo by Fr Antunes