Pareto was an economist (among other things) at the turn of the 20th century who fathered a concept later called the Pareto Principal. It is sometimes also known as the 80-20 rule, and to my surprise, The Law of the Vital Few!
Believe it or not, this has a whole lot of relevance to minimalism.
I am sure you know that the 80-20 rule is a lot of fun because there are a lot of ways you can spin circumstances such that it applies. For example: 20% of your customers provide 80% of your revenue. A different 20% produce 80% of your problems! The list goes on and on. Similarly 80% of all your waking hours, you are only using 20% of your possessions, or your talents, I might add.
Let me suggest just three ways you can use this to get more “stuff” under control:
Tackle the most important 20% of your tasks first
Of course, you should carefully select what tasks are included in the 20% you work on. Build your list at the end of your day for the next day. This will get you an 80% return on the front end. And, 10% to 20% of the remaining, largely “urgent” tasks, will go away on their own by the time you get to them.
Eliminate 80% Of The Things You Don’t Use
At the minimum, put the 80% away. But you can easily get rid of 50%. Just keep asking yourself . . . “do I really need this?” and “when did I use this last?” Be ruthless. Most of what you have can either be replicated or, it should be kept and put away. You need space to breathe.
Take 20% For Yourself
If not more! Don’t do this . . . and you are just going to be less productive during the other 80% of your waking life. And you will come to resent it. While everything else might seem so important . . . so are you!
Can you think of other good ways to use The Law of the Vital Few? to simplify things in your life?