Monday, February 8, 2016

The 80/20 Principle

Every now and then I go back to my bookshelf and dust off the book The 80/20 Principle- The Secret to Achieving More With Less Effort, by Richard Koch.

A free PDF copy is available here.

Based on an economic observation known as the Pareto Principle, the 80/20 Principle is an observation that 20% of inputs results in 80% of outputs or that 20% of your effort achieves 80% of your results. 

In more practical terms, much of the day is wasted and if you look around attentively, examples abound.  Much of what  we do during the workday has little meaning or real purpose- pointless meetings, shuffling papers, etc. Much of the issues that I deal with as an infectious diseases physician can be broken down in the 80/20 perspective: 80% of the infection prevention problems are caused by 20% of the units in the hospital.

By only recently recognizing this trend, I have learned to maximize my focus and productivity. Most importantly, I have learned to comfortably say 'no' to many unimportant requests. In doing so, things are clearer, more manageable and less stressful.  

This is achieved with personal awareness and self-discipline, there are no shortcuts.

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