This hack is known as the Pareto principle, sometimes called the 80/20 rule. In its most basic form, the Pareto principle states that 80 percent of a cause results in 20 percent of an effect (or vice versa). There are many variations to this rule, such as:
- 80% of books are sold by 20% of authors
- 80% the wealth is controlled by 20% of the population
- 80% of marketing results in 20% of sales
- 80% of your efforts produce 20% of your results
It’s this last one that we want to look at. In business, this means that 80% of what the employees spend their time on isn’t doing much to help the company. Conversely, only 20% of time is spent on tasks that actually get results. Productivity coaches teach executives, managers, and employees to weed out those ineffective tasks and instead focus their time and effort on the other 20% that get 80% of the results.
So how can you apply this simple principle to your marriage?
How much time and energy do you put into your marriage?
And how much of your free time is spent in front of your TV, computer, or mobile device? Too much, if you are like most people. Does all this time spent on entertainment make you happy? Does it make you feel satisfied? Does it help you improve your life in any meaningful way?
No? I thought not.
I often find that spending too much time in front of a screen leaves me feeling dull and empty. I recently deleted all the games off my tablet because they wasted hours of my time. I would promise myself I wouldn’t spend too much time playing, but I would get sucked into doing the “dailies” so I could earn the reward for the day. Then I would work on climbing the daily or weekly PVP charts so I could get more rewards so I could get stronger so I could climb the charts even more so I could get better rewards so I could get even stronger…
It was all so pointless. All along I was largely ignoring my bride and kids, doing the minimum to help them so I could hurry up and get back to my game. What a waste.
So I cut that out of my routine. How much more time could you give to improving your marriage, your family, or yourself if you cut out some of the media from your life?
But it’s not enough to remove the distractions. You need to focus in on those 20% of activities that get 80% of results. Otherwise you’ll just find some other distraction to fill your time.
So here are some of the things I will be focusing on as I reduce my reliance on entertainment:
- Spending time in meaningful conversation with my wife
- Playing with my kids
- Helping around the house to reduce my wife’s burdens
- Reading the Bible and spending time in prayer and worship
- Building this blog
I challenge you to remove some of the distractions from your life and to spend that time working on something important. Leave a comment below to let us know what you will be cutting out and what you will focus on instead.