The Importance of Pareto and his 80 – 20 Rule

“There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all”  Peter Drucker Click to Tweet

Hands up who can relate to that? We all waste time, and sometimes we can be fantastic at it, however how about understanding the key vital few things in life, or anything we do, that will lead us to exceptional results? Applying the 80 – 20 Rule and focusing on that 20% will make you unstoppable.

We have already covered waste in the ‘Lean Thinking’ post

No matter what we do in life, time will always be our enemy, that holds true in business, pleasure and especially health. So why do we waste it?

That is a loaded question, and while this post does not address this directly, understanding this rule is the foundations for anything you want to achieve in the most effective manner. We love being busy fools sometimes, it’s human nature, we tend to turn a blind eye towards achieving something once we can see we were busy and nothing reminded me of that more when it was time to study for exams. When the exams were months away, I was the best multi-tasker, I could do everything….bar study. However when the exams were around the corner, you can be sure, not only was I glued to a book, I knew every trick in it to focus on the right information and learn it fast. Problem Solving was a necessity! So why do I tell you that? Even before I knew any strategies I instinctively knew what and how to study to be effective with what time I had. We all have that ability. During my later years through the work I was doing, I studied these principles and now I use and live by them on a daily basis.

Enter Pareto

Vilfredo Pareto was a very talented engineer, economist, philosopher, scientist among other things. Should you wish you to conduct some research, a good starting point is here.

Pareto 80 - 20 Rule

His famous economic observation was that 20% of the population of Italy held 80% of the wealth. He also stated that 20% of the pea pods in his garden would hold 80% of the peas. So why are we talking about peas? Well, this distribution held reasonably accurate through many different distribution analysis ranging from distribution of business wealth, natural resources, world power and so came widely known as the Pareto Law, or 80 – 20 Rule or Law of the vital few.

So with that, as a general rule of thumb, 20% of what we do, whether business or personal, will render us the 80% of our results. So by focusing on the vital few as a first priority we always achieve our best results. Hence the time we do use becomes absolutely effective!

In short 20% of the inputs achieves 80% of the results.

Pareto AnalysisBurning Question – what is that 20%?

No matter what we do, what is that 20%? What can get us results.. FAST?

And this gives great focus when it comes to problem solving. Knowing what problems to fix that will render the most effective results gives us great control over our time!