Using the Pareto Principle to Achieve Results

Our modern world recognises being busy as being important.  It seems the more running around you do, the more urgent tasks you have, the more respected you become.

After all, we probably all do it!


But being busy doesn’t mean we are being effective at making the changes we want in our lives.

It may mean the opposite - that we are wasting time on tasks that aren’t that important. That leaves us drained of energy and wondering what it’s all for.

The Pareto Principle, maybe better known as the 80/20 principle.  By an Italian economist, Vilfredo Pareto, who first coined this analysis in 1896 to improve productivity.

It is, therefore, a way to use your time effectively, so you get more done and determine if you are working on the right activities. In a nutshell, the principle says that approximately 20% of your effort yields 80% of your results.

Similarly, the reverse is also true. Some tasks take 80% effort, but only generate 20% of your products. The goal is to determine which tasks are which.

The easiest and fastest way to achieve your outcomes and reach your potential is to streamline your action items.

Some tasks that don’t cut (don’t yield 80%) can be ignored as unimportant, while others may still need doing, but not necessarily by you.

Those 20% yield tasks that still need to be completed can be outsourced, so you are free to complete the creative tasks you are best at.


Keep a list of outcomes handy so that you can review it throughout each day.

Write down each task that you need to complete for the day.

Now, go through each item and compare it to your outcomes.

Does it align?

From experience, how much effort did the thing take?

And what was the benefit?

Is it worth it?

If it is, but you don’t need to do it, hand it off to someone else.

Then, brainstorm and recognise that 80% player to complete.

If it’s not, mark a line through it and move on to the next item on the list.

Use a simple tracking system to measure the results vs the effort on each task or technique you use.

This will help you determine if something is 20% or 80% to undertake later.

The point of this exercise is to keep firmly in your mind that not all activities yield the same benefits. 

However, it’s not necessary to implement every idea that you come across.

Choose only those that align with your goals and will offer the most reward.

Further Reading


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