Intentional Living

80/20 Rule for Family

The 80/20 rule for family applies the Pareto Principle as originally envisioned—80% of the effects come from 20% of the efforts. In other words, 80% of the joy in your family comes from 20% of your efforts. The key to making this principle work is identifying what is in your 20%.

For me, deciding my 20% goes hand in hand with some of my core values, including faith and relationships. Faith and exploring what it means to be a Christian woman provides me with the ability to grow as a wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunt, and someday grandparent. Faith provides me with guidance for engaging in relationships that are mutually edifying, loving, and joyous. Relationships help to fuel my passion and purpose. This 20% includes deep conversations, meeting people in their struggles, developing traditions, creating lasting memories, and just being present.

Does that mean I neglect the 80% entirely? While I wish I never had to fold socks again, no, I do not entirely neglect the other 80%. We need to spend time doing what I would call “maintenance,” including cleaning, doing the dishes, scheduling and coordinating, and helping with the “mundane” of life. Those things are part of providing for and loving our families, modeling responsibility and respect.

Dividends on the last 20% far exceed the first 80%. Don’t get me wrong; the first 80% is essential and necessary. But, honestly, if the dishes are not done tonight but I sat down with my son to talk about his future, it’s a win. If my husband and I eat out tonight instead of that gourmet meal I was planning and hold each other’s hands, stopping to be present with each other, it’s a win. If my sink of dishwater gets cold while I’m on the phone with my daughter, who lives 2.5 hours away, it’s a win.

Choose wisely.

How do you decide your 20%? Can’t wait to hear from you.

Contributed by Liz Hunt

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