The 80/20 Rule or the Pareto Principle is named after Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto. It originated from a formula Pareto came up with, back in 1906 to explain that 80% of the wealth in his nation belonged to 20% of the population.
Simply stated it elucidates the uneven distribution between cause and effect. It explains how the majority of the output is a result of a minority of input.
Even though it has its roots in economics its concept is easily applicable on most facets of life. A thorough understanding of how the 80-20 rule works can help you make some serious changes in your approach to life both at work and at home.
If you run a business with many employees, then according to the 80-20 rule, 20 per cent of your employees will be responsible for generating 80% of the total profits.
It also goes the other way. 20% of your employees will also be responsible for 80% of your problems with the workforce.
Just like 20% of the features of software would be used 80% of the time or 20% of bugs would cause 80% of the problems.
What you need to understand is that the figures don’t strictly have to be either 20 or 80%. The lesson that can be learnt from a study of the 80-20 rule is that almost always, a certain small amount of input is responsible for the largest part of the outcome.
That’s all very well, you might say, but how does any of this help me?
The answer to that is actually quite simple. The key is to find out which 20% of the cause leads to which 80% of the effects.
Once you have that figured out, apply 80% of your efforts on the 20% that matters.
When you begin experimenting with this rule you will realize that the basic principle behind it, will transform the way you manage things at work. Priorities will become clearer and you will be able to achieve maximum output with judicious inputs applied at exactly the right places.
It is not the amount of days you have lived in your life but the amount of life you have lived in each day. I know, it sounds like a bad fortune cookie. But that doesn’t mean it’s not true.
When you look back at your life you will realize that the number of days that make up your memorable moments, the memories that have stayed with you, are comprised of roughly 20 percent, maybe even less, of the total time you have spent alive.
If you have kids, consider this. If you work 50-60 hours a week then the amount you get to spend with your family each week is most likely 20 percent of your total waking hours that week.
Ask yourself, how much of your life has been consumed by mundane routine? How much time, have you been able to devote to things that really matter?
The structure of modern life is such that it is next to impossible for the vast majority to break from the 80-20 rule. Most of us work 5 days a week to get 2 days to spend with our families and with ourselves.
When this realization truly dawns on you, it can be quite overwhelming.
But the lessons of the 80-20 rule can be used here as well. The key, where your personal life is concerned, is not to try and break free from the rule but to embrace it, make it work for you. Focus your best efforts on the 20% that matters.
You must consciously decide to make the best choices and give your best efforts during those crucial moments that make up this 20 percent.
Give your all and live to the fullest in this 20% to make up for the rest of it and you will soon find that life is more fulfilling and the memories that stay with you are now even more amazing