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The Vital Few

“A few things are always much more important than most things” – Richard Koch, The 80/20 Principle

It’s that time of the year again, when strategic planning takes over, habits are re-evaluated, and revenue clicks back to zero for any business that has their fiscal year aligned with the calendar. I’ve always thrived on building the future on paper. The trick is in the execution to realize it in real life. And proper execution starts with focus. We’ve arrived back at zero and the climb begins once again. It’s a great time to re-assess the vital few.

The vital few can be customers who prove to be most profitable over time, or your closest of close friends and mentors who bring the most joy into your life, or the key activities that bring the highest return on effort invested. We know most of the time what these are, but we chase more anyway. And this chasing of more is where things break down. Relationships become diluted and less meaningful, less time is spent with key customers, critical metrics are missed chasing after dead ends, and we become too busy to get to “it”.

The red flag of “trivial many” is answering “How are you doing?” with “Busy”. It signals clearly that something is amiss. Usually that’s doing the 80 percent of things that aren’t going to amount to much in the end. I’m a big fan of simplifying things. Focusing on the vital few, and letting some of the trivial many whither on the vine of neglect. Really, it seems the only way to get anything meaningful done.

“If we did realize the difference between the vital few and the trivial many in all aspects of our lives and if we did something about it, we could multiply anything that we valued.” – Richard Koch, The 80/20 Principle

One of the vital few for me is getting enough sleep. I’m an early rise, so for me getting enough sleep means going to sleep earlier than the rest of the family. I probably missed out on some key family moments in doing so, but what happens between 9:30 and midnight that can’t happen before then? I’m more aligned with my sleep patterns and are more effective as a result. Over time this sleep habit has greatly enhanced my cognitive ability and become a force multiplier for other activities, like writing this blog. One vital habit with exponential results.

So today I’m carefully reviewing lists of people, activities and production that make up the vital few. This is where I’ll focus heavily in 2021. Translating the dreams on paper to reality in life. And acting accordingly.

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