Are You Using The 80/20 Principle In Your Life?

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What is 80/20?

I had heard about the 80/20 principle or the Pareto Principle a few years ago but I never really spend the effort to implement it into my life. It was until I started and I found that I was easily overwhelmed by the amount of tasks and information that I have to consume.

It was then I read up an article on the 80/20 principle written by Yaro Starak and I found that the philosophy of the 80/20 principle can help me to eliminate 80 percent of the non-important work thus I can focus on the 20 percent that is truly important. This mean that I can free up more time and get more things done using a lesser amount of time.

So what is the 80/20 principle? The 80/20 principle states that 20 percent of our effort will result in 80 percent of our outcome. Pareto’s research had shown that the world is running in a similar order of the 80/20 ratio. The numbers may not be exactly 80/20 and may differs but the important point is that there are always things that matters more than the others and our choice of tasks will greatly affect our output (20 percent effort that will have 80 percent results or the 80 percent effort that will have 20 percent results).

Examples of 80/20 Scenarios

If we took  notice of what is happening around us, we will find that there are lots of scenarios that is in the 80/20 ratio.

  • 20 percent of the people in the world control 80 percent of the money in the world.
  • 20 percent of your clothes get worn 80 percent of the time
  • 20 percent of your 8 hours work time produces 80 percent of the results
  • 20 percent (or may be much lower) of your contacts in your cellphone are contacted by you 80 percent of the time
  • 20 percent of the files in your computer are used 80 percent of the time.

There are lots of examples that I can go on and on but the important point is that we need to know what are the few important (20 percent) tasks that we need to do daily to get the maximum output (80 percent) to make a great difference to our life.

How 80/20 Work For Me

In my typical work day, I will spend most of my time in front of my computer and this mean that I will be facing lots of distractions. Some distractions will be emails, Twitter, Facebook, clearing my Google Reader and receiving phone calls.

These are the tasks that takes up 80 percent of my time while producing 20 percent of my results. So it means that if I am able to eliminate or minimize those tasks, I will be able to focus more on important tasks (writing articles, sending out my email newsletter, writing my eBook) which is the 20 percent that will produce 80 percent of my results.

The 80/20 principle has help me to define what are the tasks that I need to spend more time on and also what tasks I need to eliminate or minimize.

How The 80/20 Principle Can Work For You

By correctly applying the 80/20 principle  into your life,  you can get more results in your life using the least effort. You may want to start observing what is happening around you and focus on the 20 percent tasks you are doing which creating 80 percent of the results and minimize the 80 percent tasks that is only creating 20 percent of the results.

The 80/20 principle is universal and can be applied to whichever field you are in. However one thing to take note is that you can apply the 80/20 principle in your life too.

Are you really loving what you do?

If you are not, most likely you are currently spending 80 percent of your time (your current job) to create 20 percent value. Instead you should find ways to spend more time working on what you really want to do and make the 80/20 principle work for you to create your desired lifestyle.

Parting Words

By applying the 80/20 principle into our work or life, we can get more results using the least effort and also create our desired lifestyle. Why not start implementing the 80/20 principle into your life and see the difference it can help you to create in your life.

Personal Development Blogger

**P.S**Are you using the 80/20 principle in your life? Share with us on what you think about the difference it would make in your life if you are implementing the 80/20.

**P.P.S**If you want to read up more about the 80/20 rule, you can start by reading up on the book The 80/20 Principle by Richard Koch.

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  1. Its so true isnt it! the small things that matter which determine the ultimate direction!

    Nice article mate!

  2. Pingback: Personal Development Resources For Women

  3. @Hi Dimitar

    It can really be a smashing success strategy. That is why I love views from different people as sometimes we can combine different ideas into a new one which will benefit us greatly.

    @Hi Vikum,

    Do try it and it really does work. You will be amazed at how much more efficient and effective you can be by using the 80/20 principle.

    Personal Development Blogger

  4. Hi Vincent,
    This is the first time ever I’ve heard of this principle.I’m gonna try it out. Thank you for sharing the valuable idea.

  5. @Vincent

    I have been reading Leo’s articles since the beginning of his blog, when he still wasn’t a pro-blogger. His minimalism and “less is more” tips have helped me improve my everyday life.

    But it wasn’t until I read your post that I came up with the idea of mixing the less with the 80/20 principle.

    Priorities combined with minimalism can be a smashing success strategy.

  6. @Hi Evan,

    The figures differ and they may go to 70/30, 90/10 or even 99/1 but the concept is the same. There are always tasks that are more important than the other and we need to be smart to know which is the one to focus on.

    @Hi Clinton,

    I believe you got the idea. I am trying to apply as much of the 80/20 principle into my work and life.

    For example, when I am spending more effort on stuff generating content and less effort on reading up articles on the internet. This save up tons of time for me and I find that doing this allow me to work lesser hours in a day but a greater increase in my output.

    My ultimate aim is to decrease my workload to working only 4 hours per day but double my results. I believe I got to outsource things soon. 🙂

    @Hi Dimitar,

    Less is definitely more. Leo at is an advocate of this philosophy. If we are able to combine the 80/20 with the philosophy of doing less, we will be doubling the results and doubling our free time.

    @Hi Long,

    A check list will help us to know our objectives but filtering out tasks with the 80/20 will allow us to know what work to focus on (just like what Dimitar said).

    An example, if we were to fill in a jar with sand (small unimportant stuff), we will not be able to squeeze in the big rocks (important stuff).

    A checklist of tasks to do will help us to know what to do but the tasks that we do must be important and add great value. If not,the checklist does not serve the purpose.

    Personal Development Blogger

  7. Hi Dimitar,

    I like how you put it.

    I also think when you’re deciding what occupies most of our time and what not, the bigger picture has to always be at the back of your mind.

    Like seeking/developing business contacts – it may/may not benefit you. However, if you don’t seek at all, there’s no chance for further development for your business.

    Perhaps it’s not so easy to quantify how this helps out in the long run comparing to things you get done daily. But it is a good reminder that on your check list, some things get ticked off quickly, others not so –but you need to have a checklist to begin with.

    Interesting discussion guys 🙂

  8. Hey Dimitar,

    that makes a lot of sense. Maybe put aside 1 hr a days for the less important things and the rest of your day is for things that matter.

    I’m going with that!

  9. The 80/20 principle demonstrates that some things have much greater importance than others and often helps you find your priorities in everyday life.

    But I have another principle that I apply: less is more. If I try to mix those two in a regular situation from work:

    I have reduced my tasks to three most important ones per day. They occupy 80% of my work-time. Others, which I find unimportant and that won’t have an impact on my future well being, occupy 20%.

    So by doing less for more time, I get more done.

  10. Hi Vincent,
    I’ve heard of the 20/80 rule before but never really got into it. This is interesting. It seems that 20 percent of the blogs I read make 80 percent of the difference. I’ve learned a ton of stuff reading people’s blogs and interacting with bloggers. I’ve met a lot of new blog writer on Twitter, so therefor Twitter brings results also.

    I think a good idea would be to think it over and then write down items that apply to the 20/80 rule.
    For example:

    – Working on my startups, I find I get a ton of things done when just putting in a few hours of work. While at the same time I can work on other things(which don’t exactly benefit me) and they take me all week to finish. Then I think, what if I spent full weeks working on my startups. I’ve gotten massive amounts of work done over the Christmas break and other such holidays.

    I’d be interested what other people have to say about this and what else you’d have to say about it also.


  11. I’m not sure that the figures are always exactly 80/20. But I think the idea is a good one: Work smarter, not harder!