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The 80/20 Rule

September 13, 2018


One of my favorite guidelines in this life is one that I probably am using the wrong way…But, hey, whatever works, right?

I wish this advice came to me in a dream, but the real story is that it’s something stolen from someone else’s life advice situation. My bad. I just happened to apply it to my own life, and now it guides me in the right direction whenever possible. It’s easy, intuitive, and most importantly, quantifiable. No more, “you’ll know when you know” or “whatever is meant to be will happen.”



Instead, let me introduce you to the 80/20 rule. She’s a beauty.

This rule takes the guesswork and mystery out of some aspects of life, and I’m sure everyone could use a little more of that.

Ironically, I think the 80/20 rule is most commonly applied in the world of finance. If you were to Google it, it comes up as the “Pareto Principle” the idea that, for many events, about 80% of effects come from 20% of the causes. You can read the full – and I mean, full – idea here.

If you’re confused or overwhelmed by this, you’re not alone. It helps for me to hear it like,

“80% of traffic on my blog comes from 20% of my ideas.”


“80% of customer complaints come from 20% of customers.”

Project managers, businesses, and employers use this principle all the time.

Now, what if I’m none of those things? What if I’m just a person trying to navigate the world a little easier?

The 80/20 rule – with just a lil tweakin’ – can apply to your life as well:

Let me give you some background…

The lightbulb went off in my head a couple of years ago. My friend was discussing a relationship she was in at the time of The Great 80/20 Revelation. She had been feeling unhappy and was looking for advice about which direction to go next. Her dad asked her, “Are you happy with (your significant other) 80% or more of the time, and feeling negative with them or towards them 20% or less of the time?”

Apparently, if the answer was no, then it was time to get out. BOOM. Mindblown.

So, there’s the rule tilted on its financial head. If you find yourself at a dead-end job, in a dead-end relationship, or in a toxic friendship – are you feeling negative effects from it more than 20% of the time? If so, it may just be time to reevaluate your situation 80/20-style.

Personally, this has been most helpful to me when it comes to relationships. I was in one relationship in particular, shortly after hearing of this new advice, where I found myself crying constantly. He was not ready for a relationship and I very much was. It was emotionally draining and mentally exhausting. The last thing I wanted to do was give up on a possible future, right? But, once I applied the 80/20 rule to the relationship and found that it failed miserably, it was easier for me to see – in numbers – that I was wasting too much of my time being unhappy and begging for a future that just wasn’t there. 


What I like about the rule is that it leaves room for life to happen.

       There are going to be days when your relationship just feels blah or you have a fight.

       There are going to be days when your job seems too stressful to handle.

Instead of neglecting the ugly side of life, it takes into account these unavoidable factors and lets you crunch the numbers in REAL time and during your REAL life.

The 80/20 rule also provides something to work towards. If you find that you’re in a situation that is feelin’ a little more 50/50, then taking steps to correct that situation may be necessary.

Sometimes, the 80/20 rule just illuminates the idea that something in a specific area of your life needs to change. Instead of quitting that job, try asking supervisors for work that excites you more. Instead of ditching that relationship, try going to therapy or talking it out. And if the rule still doesn’t apply – then at least you tried to change those numbers as much as possible.

I’m not saying this rule is for everyone, but for me, it has certainly given life new clarity and purpose. Even though I no longer break my neck to achieve the perfect 100-level of happiness, at least I know I am deserving of an attempt. Until that fated day, the 80/20 rule will always be there as a guide.


Try applying it to different aspects in your life!


Always trying to move you forward,

  • Reply
    September 14, 2018 at 1:44 pm

    A great post loaded with practicality. I loved the 80/20 rule. This article is a great read. I never thought of applying such a rule before, but now onwards I am excited to give it a try..Hope, it makes things easier for me.
    Thanks a lot for sharing!

    • Reply
      Lauren Swinson
      September 14, 2018 at 3:47 pm

      Thank you! I’d love to hear how it works for you and your life! (:

  • Reply
    September 14, 2018 at 2:50 pm

    I love your blog. ❤️ I am now subscribed to your blog by email. ❤️
    I absolutely love this blog post! I love how you explain the idea of 80/20 and how it can be applied. What a great concept. Your writing style is extremely engaging and I wanted to read more! You are a great writer! ❤️🌸xxxx

    • Reply
      Lauren Swinson
      September 14, 2018 at 3:48 pm

      You’re so sweet! I appreciate your kind comment so much <3

  • Reply
    September 14, 2018 at 4:38 pm

    This is really great. It’s like life coaching for dummies, and sometimes I really am a dummy! Can’t wait to apply this to some aspects of my life. A bit worried about the outcome though 🙊🤷‍♀️ X

    • Reply
      Lauren Swinson
      September 14, 2018 at 5:15 pm

      It’s a good amount of cleansing for sure, but I’ve found that long term it is SO WORTH IT.
      I wish you luck! I’m so glad you liked it, love!

  • Reply
    November 13, 2018 at 1:48 pm

    Great post! I love the way your ideas flow in this post. The first time I heard 80/20 was the Tyler Perry movie “Why did I get married”. It talked about how your partner/spouse will only have 80% of what you like and missing the other 20%. So one guy left his adoring but overweight wife for a beautiful woman but the beautiful woman had only the 20% qualities, looks but no cooking, cleaning, affection, commitment, ect… So keep your 80% and don’t run to the the 20%. 80/20 applies in your way too. I always said, I rather be happy alone than miserable with somone else!

    Thanks again,
    Teri –

    • Reply
      Lauren Swinson
      November 15, 2018 at 7:34 am

      Wow I’ve never heard of it put like that! That’s also a really good use of the 80/20! Thanks for reading !

  • Reply
    November 13, 2018 at 3:28 pm

    This was a great piece of advice! I’ve heard of “keep eating until 80% full” rule😂 but not this! Not all relationships will be perfect so this 80/20 is a great rule of thumb to go by! And I def agree that you should try to make steps to make things better instead of immediately ditching something. Lovely post! !🌸

    • Reply
      Lauren Swinson
      November 15, 2018 at 7:35 am

      I usually eat until I’m 110% full hehe
      Thanks for the comment!! (:

  • Reply
    November 13, 2018 at 6:23 pm

    very good

  • Reply
    November 14, 2018 at 6:11 am

    I so wish id seen this post ages ago! I’ve only just left my job that was more like 80%hate and 20% like and I’ve never been so happy! It’s a really way of evaluating things that can’t be measured!

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