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Balance-80-20 Rule?

Updated on December 17, 2010

We live in a chaotic world. We live in a world that puts a lot of demands on us, or perhaps we put “us” in that world. Perhaps we create too much chaos in our own lives. How do we slow down? How do we put balance in our lives? How do we find those moments to actually sit down and have a talk with our inner being, and realize that we need balance, and how to obtain it?

I believe the key is having some type of balance in one’s life. Balance is a hard thing to find in the busy everyday world. We find ourselves going here, and going there, meeting the demands of a whirlwind. We find ourselves doing things that we do not really want to, stealing our energy away from those things that we want to do. Such as watching televisions shows that are mediocre, time spent with people who drain you, doing tasks that could be structured into a more positive approach. We give our time doing things where we wish we had said no to begin with, taking time away from our family, our friends, or ourselves.

We need to learn how to balance our lives, we need to learn to say no to certain things, and give us back some of that “me” time. We need to learn how to reorganize our lives and give us back balance. We need to learn to live by the 80-20 rule, where you identify the 20% of work the yields 80% of the results. I know by now you are probably thinking how can there be balance in any 80-20. There can be!

You might wonder where this 80-20 rule came from, it is called, Pareto's Principle - The 80-20 Rule. “In 1906, Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto created a mathematical formula to describe the unequal distribution of wealth in his country, observing that twenty percent of the people owned eighty percent of the wealth. In the late 1940s, Dr. Joseph M. Juran inaccurately attributed the 80/20 Rule to Pareto, calling it Pareto's Principle. While it may be misnamed, Pareto's Principle or Pareto's Law as it is sometimes called, can be a very effective tool to help you manage effectively."

But I am talking about putting balance in your life using the 80-20 rule, not for business! To think about using that balance in your chaotic life by using every day methods, and things that can make your life easier, and less stressful. Trying to put it into perspective and think about the results you can produce. Of course this is a general rule, not an irrefutable statistic. For some action, the breakdowns can be a little different, but I am talking about using it as a general rule in your every day life.

For instance;

You have just been called by your child's school and asked to bring 100 cookies for a party the next day, and you are wondering how could you EVER find the time to bake with your busy schedule. Don't. Order them from a bakery instead, and all you have to do is pick them up and deliver! And then you can spend that time that would have been baking, spending it with your family, or taking a long bubble bath.

You have to clean your house for a big celebration, and the entire family is coming over, and your children are yelling they want time! How do you juggle it all? You can, spend an hour cleaning and take little breaks in there, sit down with your children and have some milk and cookies for 10-15 minutes. And then go back to cleaning for another hour, and then take another 10-15 minutes with your children, get out some coloring books and crayons. You are probably thinking, "This is yet another mess I will have to clean up!" No, think about it, you are giving your children some quality time in the middle of that chaotic world. They are going to remember those moments, instead of yelling at them to get out of the way, and not spending any time with them at all. Your house might not be as clean as  you had wished, but you are using quality time, and a balance. And applying that 80-20 rule.

Your wife told you that you do not spend enough time with her, and you wonder how in the world can you possibly spend any more time with her, with work, and family time already zapping your energy? If you have an hour for lunch, use one of those hours and invite your wife to lunch. Tell her to dress alluring for you, and take her out during the day. Show her that she is just as important during the day as she is at night. Or make a date night. Pick one night a week, find a babysitter, and take her out. Call it your date night, and have fun! It doesn't have to cost much, what is important is the time you give her. If you have to give up one night of sports, or one night with your buddies, do it!

You can apply this balance of 80-20 to everything in your life! From family, friends, work, playtime, relationships, diet, even if you are alone. It is all about balance and what is important. And trying to find that balance and be less stressful.

For instance;

The holidays are upon us and you have TONS of shopping to do. Shop online, in your pajamas, curled up in a nice warm house, without fighting the crowds. And look for online coupons, discount shopping, look for those specials that are online only.

You have presents to wrap and that takes a lot of time! Buy gift bags! They are cheaper and just as pretty, and they take less time!

You have to have the family over for the Holidays and that takes up so much time! Make it simple, buy already prepared food, frozen Hors d'oeuvres, deli prepared cheese and meat platters. Make simple one-pot meals in the crock-pot. Use plastic dishes, plastic silverware, plastic cups. They make such a pretty variety these days, and when it is done, throw it all away! You won't have to spend hours and hours in the kitchen doing dishes, while your guests/family are in the other room enjoying!

It is better to have the memories of the Holidays to carry with us, than remembering how many dishes you had to do! Or how many stores you had to go to find that perfect gift! Or standing in long lines, or having to fight the traffic, the weather, or spending hours upon hours wrapping gifts!

Get organized! This too will lend to a balanced life. Write down those important dates to remember, write down those tasks that have to be done. Sit down on Sunday and write things out for the week.

Remember, life is supposed to be lived, not dreaded! There has to be a balance or it becomes too chaotic. Spend those precious moments in your life, doing the things that matter. With the people that matter the most! As I said earlier, even if alone, you must still have the balance, or you will be just as stressed out as the person who has ten kids, a wife, and five dogs! It is all about the balance we put in our lives. I learned a very important lesson when my husband passed away. Take time out of your busy schedule to enjoy what matters the most. Because we might not have a tomorrow!

"Be aware of wonder. Live a balanced life - learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some." ~Robert Fulghum~



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    • LaurieDawn profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      @Segol-Thank you for your nice comments, and thank you for stopping by and it is a pleasure to "meet" you. May you have a wonderful Holiday Season.



      @Ahorseback-You honor me Sweet Man, and yes it is much like that, to listen and give of oneself, learning to slow down in the busy traffic of life, and learning to take the time for that and those which is most important. Thank you again for your nice comments.

      Blessings and hugs,


    • ahorseback profile image


      7 years ago

      Wow , Lauriedawn, this is good, I have to read it again , its similar to the old , Talk 10% of the time , listen 90 % of the time, those of us who will improve our lives are rare compared to those who practice disfunctional lives. Excellent Piece, Peace.!

    • segol yoda profile image

      segol yoda 

      7 years ago

      nice and useful hub, ty

    • LaurieDawn profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      I agree Darski Darlin'! I too am a hermit for the most part now, and it is a little crazy at times, but you know I think we deserve it, and can now live life as we want to! Thank you Dear Friend for stopping by, it is always such a pleasure to hear from you!

      Blessings and hugs,


    • Darlene Sabella profile image

      Darlene Sabella 

      7 years ago from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ...

      Funny how you just wrote this hub as this is what I have been thinking about today. And as for me, I am retired so my 80% is easy, I do whatever I want, I am a hermit by choice and that is my peace, the world can go crazy yet my love is writing and enjoying my huber frinds, Excellent hub, rate up peace & love darski

    • LaurieDawn profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      @Deborah-Thank you! I love quotes, they can at time say things better than I can!



      @Lady Wordsmith-Thank you Linda for your compliments. I too never use plastic service wear, I prefer china, crystal and the likes, but I do remember when I was young my Aunt at the Holidays would use those wonderful Chinet plates just to save on the many dishes, and have more time with the family. And there are many that come in recycled papers now.

      And yes it is so important to find "me" time, and that is something that we all need to learn how to find!



      @Ghomefitness-Thank you for your vote up! I find this so valuable that we all learn this rule, and put priorities first! Something in this modern world we don't always make time for.



    • ghomefitness profile image


      7 years ago from Chicago,IL

      I went to a training seminar that worked on the 80/20 rule, It is a good principal. up and useful

    • Lady Wordsmith profile image

      Linda Rawlinson 

      7 years ago from Lancaster, UK

      It's not as difficult to find balance as one might think. This is a beautifully positive hub, and I hope lots of people take heed to it :)

      The only thing I disagree with is the use of plastic throwaway plates and cutlery at Christmas - that seems like a terrible waste to me, and recycling is one of the things that matters in my life! ;) Each to their own though.

      I have a well balanced life, with a very healthy measure of 'me' time. I used to think that there were too few hours in the day for me to be able to do my own things - but I've made time, and now I have an abundance of it. Turning the TV off is a great start!


    • Deborah Demander profile image

      Deborah Demander 

      7 years ago from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD

      Love this hub. Especially your quote at the end. Inspirational.



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