How to work smarter not harder

The 80/20 Principle - How to Use It and stay motivated.

  • Have you heard about the 4 days work week implemented in Sweden?
  • Do you spend 10h by your desk working or studying but don’t see the results of your time?
  • Did you spend 1 year learning a new language and still cannot speak?
  • Do you want to learn how to work or study smarter, not harder, then this post is for you.

First time Monika heard about Pareto Principle was when she studied Norwegian and she was amazed by how quickly she started to see results once she implemented this method to learn language.

Pareto Principle it is a method called 80/20 principle. Let me explain, in 1906 an Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto observed that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population. According to his observation it was: 20% of the workers produce 80% of the result Which means that: 20% of the input creates 80% of the result If you talk about economic result it is 20% of customers create 80% of the revenue

This is a life changing observation which simply once you understand how it works it will help you to work smarter not harder.

80/20 Principle applies to any aspect of your life from professional work, studies, learning a language, getting fit, learning new skills and discovering the hobby and developing it. Everything you do, really.

The rule is to remember that 80% of value comes from 20% of the work you put in. 80% of success you get is actually 20% of your effort.

How is that? Let me explain with an example: Imagine that you are working towards something: let’s say in your job, you work on a specific project or learning a new language which we can also call a project, to simplify. Not everything you do regarding this project is necessarily the most effective - simply saying not all the time you spend working on it equals the best result.

If you spend 10h a day working on the project it is not effective in a way that you spend all this time effectively working toward the right results. Obviously you need to figure out yourself how effective an approach you need.

Let me explain with study or study a new language: 8h a day studying language can give you only 20% of your result because simply you can’t stay focused on 8h and be efficient during this time. It is better to use some time by actively using new sentences or vocabulary and repeating them aloud, saying them to someone or engaging in constant repeating and reviewing. Simply sitting for 8h and thinking that we study does not equal the 8h of result. Better to use this time by going to a cafe and trying to use the skills you learn and have some break than sitting aimlessly every day.

The Parento Principle says simply to work smarter not harder, that means that you need to find your way in anything you do.

Get to know your strategy.

Have clear goals and figure out where to put effort to get results.

Because 80% of your outcome comes probably from a very selective time you spend on the task, when you were most focused, when you worked most effectively and tried hard to work out the task.

Do less but do it better.

Is up to you to identify which 20% of your activity is the most effective. When you learn the most, which part gives you most in terms of results, probably it is when your brain is engaged the most.

Do more of that, do it better, focus on your approach.

Obviously this is just the concept, I am not saying to work 20% of your time, obviously it is still 80% of work which needs to be done and that in one way or another will pay off for you. When your work time is 8h it is 8h and nothing we can do to change it, but I am saying about your own way of approaching every task, finding what is effective for you, what can brings you more results instead of sitting without focus 8h and checking the time until the end of your work day.

I spend a lot of time studying, I am learning new stuff all the time, new staff regarding coding and developing, I am learning while I am working and I watch a lot of videos and take courses - this is part of my job and I am passionate about it. But I know how easy it is to just spend all my time design to study to study and jump into the loop of study, there are many videos - maybe when you watch youtube a lot, you click one video, later another and another and after a while you don’t remember what was the first video about.

My study could be the same, because it is so interesting and I am passionate about learning new things but I know that this way is not effective. I know that the key is strategy.

I need to practice what I study, I need to engage in a topic otherwise I will not learn much from it.

You can learn a lot from this concept and knowing this method can reinforce your approach to the time you spend on your work or study. That way you will see that spending time more effectively gives actually more results.
No one will teach you at university or at work how you should invest your energy in order to have a better outcome. It is only thanks to knowing your goals and having strategy, you can use your time effectively.

It is simply by working smarter, not harder you will see better results.

The 80/20 principle is a powerful tool, if you think about it it applies to any aspect of our life. It says that 80% of your struggles and stress comes from 20% of toxic people around you, or poor quality of sleep. Everything has an effect on our being and knowing things, knowing the way we work and the outcomes it brings can really help and change our lives.

I wish you good luck with working out what is your effective 20% of your 80% work. Share with me if you knew about this method before or if that is something you think that you can use in any aspect of your life.