No matter who you are or what you do, there's an inescapable fact -- in life, the minority of causes, inputs or efforts you apply will produce the majority of effects, results, or rewards you experience.
In 1906 an Italian economist, Vilfredo Pareto, discovered that 20% of the Italian population owned 80% of the nation’s wealth. Further studies revealed that The Pareto Principle, as it became known, affects us all in every aspect of life.
This has real value in every aspect of your life and work...
If you can identify which efforts get the best results, you can apply your time and focus far more effectively.
In other words, you do more of what actually matters, as the time matrix explains.
It’s important to remember that the 80-20 'rule' is actually a principle – it can be 80-20, but it’s not set in stone - it doesn’t have to total 100. For example, a teacher may have a class where 99% of discipline issues are created by 10% of students.
In your personal and professional life you’ll increasingly recognize this principle. Use it if you want to know how to prioritize your work.
How do you benefit from using The Pareto Principle?
Understand the 80-20 rule and you can decide if it’s worth continuing to achieve 100%. Often, though, 80% is ‘good enough’. As you practice it more, you'll achieve an increasingly accurate idea of how much time and effort to apply. This makes overcoming perfectionism more viable in any situation.
Remember that it's a rule of thumb, not a hard and fast law. Sometimes 100% is necessary to take 'good' to 'great'. To produce top quality or to achieve completion, you need to go the extra mile. It may be true that 80% of a road is built in 20% of the time, but the lines still need to be painted.