How Implementing the 80/20 Rule into my Life Helped me Stay Sane

I’d like to share with you how implementing the 80/20 rule into my life helped me stay sane in my life.

Being a fitness enthusiast and having a versatile social and professional life can make me feel perpetually exhausted, and no vacation would be able to help.

I’ve known for a while that my immune system has suffered greatly due to my overly-filled schedule, and that something had to change.

In my attempt to find that much-needed balance in life, I came across this rule called the Pareto principle, or the law of the vital few. It refers to the fact that the majority of your success (80%) will be the direct result of just a small fraction (20%) of your actions.

Let me elaborate on how I started using this simple rule to protect my wellbeing and make the most of my time and efforts in every aspect of life.

The nutrition nut

I’ve always been very eager to keep my diet almost flawlessly based on all-natural, non-processed, locally grown organic ingredients, and I’ve spent every day for the past decade making every meal with care and devotion.

We’re what we eat, right? And food is important for staying healthy and boosting our immune system, we all know that. However, I deprived myself of those wonderful treats, such as a not-so-healthy chocolate birthday cake or mocha cupcakes, never realizing that this attitude can in fact be harmful.

No matter how happy you might be with my healthy menu, it’s stressful to take part in numerous social events and avoid the delicious wonders that come with them.

All of those restrictions have a negative impact on your mindset, so as soon as you flip and apply the 80/20 principle, your life will suddenly become much simpler.

Every day, 80% of my nutrition consists of healthy ingredients, while I use those 20% to treat myself to a bar of chocolate or a cookie.

It never impedes my fitness goals or my health in any way, it actually supports and enables them, it gives me joy and it helps me look forward to a particular part of the day or the week that I know I deserve.

The fitness frenzy

I’ve had the same tendencies in my fitness routine as I did in my nutrition – I aimed to do as much exercise as humanly possible during the week and never let my training sessions be shorter than two hours. Extensive warm ups, stretching and cooldowns were a must, of course, and I thought that my main exercises should also take up longer than an hour and a half.

Fortunately, science has shown that there are benefits of applying the same principle to your workout – your muscles will grow better and your body will repair and heal much more efficiently, thus lowering your chances of an injury or compromising your immune system from overtraining.

Now, I focus 80% of my time on compound movements at the gym such as the squat, bench, deadlift, overhead press and pullups, while I use only one or two added exercises and no isolation work whatsoever.

Since this strategy cut my gym time in half, I devoted the rest of my time to running on my home Vision treadmill for occasional cardio sessions or as a warmup before my training, and I use various yoga positions to stretch and improve my flexibility.

The work craze

Another crucial segment of everyone’s life that needs changing is likely your professional sphere. I would take on tasks and projects that require a 48-hour-long day, and only a small fragment (those pesky 20%) of all of my efforts have led to significant improvements in my career, whether in terms of my earnings or my personal satisfaction.

Then I realized which of my responsibilities yielded the most success and I weeded out the unnecessary time-wasting errands, so now I spend 80% of my work hours focusing on the most important tasks that will make a difference, while I delegate the rest.

The balance

All of these small steps are a perfect way of finding the right balance and allocating the right amount of time to the most important aspects of your life.

A single rule can help you gain a new perspective on every decision you make, and find a more fruitful alternative that will not only provide you with better results, but also help you build a happy, fulfilled life.

By Zara Lewis

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