How To Use The 80-20 Rule To Your Advantage

80-20 pareto principal
Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

The 80-20 rule is a great framework for prepping. With a little bit of work, you can get the majority of possible value. Simply having two weeks of supplies in your home and a bug-out bag means you are better prepared to handle emergencies than 80% of the population.

What is the 80-20 Pareto Principle?

The 80 20 rule is a tried and true principle that can set your life up for success. You can apply it to any aspect of your life, including at work and home, with fitness and health, relationships, and personal progress.

The Pareto Principle states that 20 percent of your activities will account for 80 percent of your results, however, it is not a hard and fast mathematical law. It is a concept. The key to following the 80-20 rule is to identify that roughly 20 percent of your actions or most productive tasks lead to the most success.

Simply put, the Pareto Principle helps you determine which areas to focus your efforts on. The 80-20 principle helps you decide which resources are the most important for you to use to achieve the greatest efficiency. It helps reduce wasting time, money, supplies, efforts, emotions, energy, and so on.

The Pareto Principle can be applied to a variety of situations, including business, economics, and quality control. If not used correctly, the Pareto Principle can lead to an excessive focus on short-term gains over long-term planning and stability. When used correctly, the Pareto Principle can help prioritize tasks, optimize resources, and improve overall efficiency. It provides a useful framework for understanding complex systems and identifying key areas for improvement.

It is becoming obvious that the key to the efficient use of the 80-20 rule is recognizing the key points you need to put your focus on. That does not mean to prioritize certain efforts over others without thorough analyses. Diversifying to the point of confusion is not the solution either. The correct answer is somewhere in between. Overly depending on one element is inherently flawed because you are trying to predict the future by assuming that one thing is the “right” thing.

80-20 for preppers

Gear is important. Skills are important. Physical and mental fitness is important. The ability to survive alone and help the community is important.

If you have a huge armory but don’t know how to cook raw food, you’re in trouble. If you have the best urban garden but can’t defend yourself against those who will take your food, you’re in trouble.

Budget is an understandable issue for many people. But the good news is that almost every budget level can prepare, especially to cover those 80-20 basics like two weeks of home supplies.

One of the toughest things we face when making recommendations is balancing quality versus cost. For example, if you need to bug out, consider the choice of your footwear and clothes based upon the weather conditions you expect, the terrain difficulty and durability of chosen items. If you are facing harsh conditions invest in more durable boots, but also consider if they are comfortable enough for long hikes. Perhaps use cheaper ones for your practice and see if they might satisfy your overall needs.

 It’s important that your preps are practical and usable. In other words, the less you have to remember or figure out on the spot, the better things will go.

To apply the 80-20 rule to get 90 percent prepared takes a lot more work. You’ll be investing in solar power and water filtration for your home, years worth of supplies, classes on emergency field medicine, and so on. All of this is very worthwhile (and fun!), but it takes disproportionately more time and money.

As you go deeper into prepper land, keep in mind that just because people are debating something doesn’t mean it’s actually a valid debate. When we see people debating something, whether it’s about prepping or climate change, our brains assume it’s a relevant and reasonable debate (“oh, this must still be an important and undecided issue!”). But it usually isn’t. Or the debate only matters to the 1% of people who are well beyond their 80-20 and need something to nitpick over. As always, keep an open mind and rely upon your acquired knowledge to make decisions. Any tool is helpful if you know how to use it to your best interest.