I have been accused of being an optimist. To that accusation I say… You got me! Guilty as charged. To those who feel stuck wallowing in sorrow, to those who believe an ill fate is predetermined, to those who usually expect the worst – I understand. There are things that are totally out of our control and if we try to change those things, we will go insane!
One of those things is time. We can’t stop it, so we need to work with it – and in fact, in order to be a lot happier a time revolution is needed. The hard part is having the guts to make a big change to how we spend our time. But if you can manage to focus on just the 20% of experiences in your past that have brought you the greatest fulfillment and pleasure, your future will be better. 80% better!
In my debut blog post, Let’s Get Organized! (How I did it), I introduced the 80/20 Principle as a big part of my ideology. The principle is defined as roughly 80% of results come from 20% of your efforts. This theory, as Richard Koch writes in The 80/20 Principle: The Secret to Achieving More with Less, is seen in all aspects of our lives:
With the stuff we own – We only use 20% of our possessions 80% of the time. Wouldn’t it be great to purge all that unnecessary and unused stuff taking up all your space? With a clutter free, organized house you will be more productive and have more time to spend with family and friends.
With our time – 80% of what we do is of low value. Only 20% of time spent makes a distinct difference. So if we recognize this and work to make good use of 20% or our time, there can’t be a shortage of time. Think about how much time you spend watching TV, chatting with coworkers, aimlessly surfing the web, digging through piles of useless things to find what you need, using social media, driving your car – it all adds up.
With investing money – With compound interest, it’s more important to start saving early in life, than to save a lot. This one secret, to passively acquire a lot of money over a lifetime, actually amounts to far less than 20% of efforts to accumulate money! For example, if you invested only $2500, plus $250 per month over 10 years at 9.8% (which is the average annualized total return for an S&P 500 index fund over the past 90 years), you’d have over $54K. After 20 years, you will have $154K and after 25 years $312K! Use the compound interest calculator and you can plan your own financial future.
With having a happy life – 20% of what we do leads to 80% of our happiness. If we think hard and recognize that this is what’s happening in our life, it should be enough to motivate us to have a time revolution. After all, there is no value in doing things you don’t enjoy.
Although following the 80/20 Principle will enable positive change with your stuff, time, money and life – I know it is hard to take that first step. Perhaps the easiest one to tackle first is your stuff? The 80/20 Principle aligns well with the guiding rules to completely organize your house. When deciding what to keep, be selective. Only hold on to the items you use. When deciding where to put things, put them where they will be most efficient to you. If you need guidance through this process, that’s what Weir Organized is here for!
If you plan carefully, you can make your future life better. Spend more time on the small amount of things you enjoy the most and less on those you don’t enjoy. Too many of us are working at jobs we don’t enjoy and spending time with people we don’t particularly care for. Is your commitment to a job coming at the unwanted expense of family? Life is too short for this. Empower yourself to make changes. The future is better than the past because you can take the best 20% to create a better future.
I know there are those out there working at a job that they might be good at, but they don’t really enjoy most of the time. Where you work can define your life and if you don’t like what you are doing you really do need to make a change. But how? In the next blog post I will help you find the way!