📈 Leveling Up Efficiency with The Pareto Principle

Productivity

Happy Sunday!

This week during rounds, let's talk about an idea that can elevate our productivity to a whole new level😲.

Since this is the first newsletter of July, that means we're now more than halfway through 2024, which is ridiculous📆. But that also makes it a great time to identify areas of our lives we can improve upon and ways that we can make it happen👍.

One tool we can use to accomplish this is the Pareto Principle, also known as the 80/20 Rule.

The Pareto Principle goes like this: 80% of the outputs (or results) come from 20% of the inputs (or efforts)🔋.

For example, at a doctor's office 80% of patient visits might be due to the top 20% of common health issues, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and the common cold🦠. If a doctor were to dedicate more time to learning how to manage these top 20% of conditions, they can better treat a larger group of patients than if they were to focus on rare conditions that they might manage only once a year😷.

Here's a simplified visualization of the Pareto Principle⬇️

The Pareto Principle was developed in the 1940's and is often mentioned in the business world, where there's a commonly held belief that 80% of sales come from 20% of the clients🤑.

But how might this 80/20 rule apply to a medical student or resident?🧑🏻‍⚕️

One example that comes to mind is exam prep. Say there's two medical students studying for USMLE Step 1.

Medical student #1 is using every resource they can get their hands on. First Aid, TrueLearn SmartBanks, Pathoma, Sketchy Medical, Goljan lectures, old textbooks...the list goes on and on😵‍💫. This medical student uses every single resource, but never finishes any of them.

Medical student #2 instead chooses to focus on the first three resources3️⃣. This medical student reads First Aid from cover to cover, does all of the questions in the SmartBank, and reviews Pathoma in its entirety✅.

Who will be more prepared for the exam?

In this example, medical student #2 understands that the majority of their results will come from the top resources and decides to focus on those.

This is the Pareto Principle at work!😁

Of course, the Pareto Principle isn't perfect. Studying only 20% of the material for an exam or rounding on only 20% of our patients isn't a roadmap to success😅. And in some cases, the majority of an outcome may come from more or even less than 20% of the time spent⚖️.

But the Pareto Principle is a great tool that forces us to analyze where we are attaining the most benefit from and enabling us to home in on that area🔎.

Give the Pareto Principle a try and see how it affects your productivity!


Speaking of Productivity: Building a Second Brain by Tiago Forte was my favorite read of 2023 and helped me create a system that has forever changed my productivity.

⬇️ Even More Productivity: Check out more of my productivity articles at the link below.

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