The Pareto Principle

“Few of us have ever heard let alone know of the Pareto Principle, yet this little law of life affects us each and every day…” — Rick Cox

The Pareto Principle, named after an Italian economist, Vilfredo Pareto, was originally known as the 80/20 Rule. It was however, a business management consultant by the name of Joseph M. Juran, who thought the observations of Mr. Pareto, were not only valid, but should be further studied noting how well they applied to everything in life. It was at the behest of Mr. Juran that the concept was named after Mr. Pareto.

The whole thing started when, being the economist he was, Mr. Pareto discovered eighty percent of the land was owned by twenty percent of the people. He then noted twenty percent of the pea pods in his garden produce eighty percent of the peas. Taking the study further, Mr. Juran discovered the following:

1. Twenty percent of the people will give eighty percent of the donations in church

2. Twenty percent of the people will do eighty percent of the work

3. Twenty percent of your time is spent on that which is the most important in your life while eighty percent will be spent that which is not

4. Twenty percent of our time is spent on those people around us that are most important while eighty percent is spent with those who are not

5. Twenty percent of our time will be spent doing that which will make of us a better, more productive person, but spending eighty percent of our time doing nothing worthwhile

The above discoveries lead Mr. Juran to the conclusion that eighty percent of the effects come from twenty percent of the causes.

This principle uncovers our need to spend eighty percent of our time doing that which is important instead of the other way around. If you will simply evaluate what it is you spend time doing, more than likely you will find that eighty percent is being spent on unimportant things thereby, robbing you of the ability to enjoy a better life. Enjoying a better life will only come about by monitoring what you do with your time. What are you spending eighty percent of your time doing? If your time is not being spent on self-improvement or in some service to others through which both benefit, you will not be doing that which is required to gain a better quality of life. With eighty percent of your time you can work on building better relationships with family and friends; you can work on having better communication and people skills; you can work on getting a better job or a promotion with a higher pay scale; you can work on a better outlook on life by learning to be thankful and grateful for what you have while working harder on yourself to make it better.

Learn to discipline yourself to the following:

1. Spend eighty percent of your time with those most important to you. If not, you will be spending eighty percent of your time with the twenty percent that are the least important to you. This will happen, because the twenty percent will “attach” themselves to and thereby, sap from you that which you should be giving to those who are most important.

2. Spend eighty percent of your time doing that which will help you achieve your goals. Learn to write down your goals then spend eighty percent of your time following that which is necessary to get them accomplished. Again, make sure quality time with your family is one of those goals.

3. Choose your friends and relationships wisely or you will find yourself giving eighty percent to those who are only giving you twenty.

4. Make sure eighty percent of that which you take time to read and watch will challenge as well as educate you. Leave the fluff or mindless reading for the twenty percent.

If you take this study seriously, you will find something out about why you are the person you are and why you are where you are. This is because you are what you think and do. If you are spending eighty percent of your time procrastinating and drifting through life with no goals and or objectives, you will only wind up getting that which is left over after those that do have goals and objectives have picked through and taken the best.

When it comes to your time remember, “There is never enough time to do everything, but there is always time to do the most important thing.” Discover in your life what is most important to you and get at it. Stay at it until you master it then go do something else and master that.

Think about it very closely, time is the most valuable asset you have and if it is used properly it will wind up bringing to you, through the law of the Pareto Principle, all you could ever want. That is to say if you use eighty percent of your time on that which you want and twenty percent on the minor things then you will wind up having the major things you seek.

An easy way to make this happen is to follow that which was said by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, which in essence was, “The things that matter most must never be at the mercy of those things that matter least.” When things that matter most are subject to things that matter least, we do not wind up getting out of life but very little of what we want. There are plenty of things that can and will be used to distract you from staying focused on the things that matter most.

Stephen Covey further said, “The main thing is to make the main thing the main thing.” We can do this by making sure we make a list of that which we want to accomplish each and every day and then put a plan together on how to get them accomplished. It has been discovered that for every minute you invest in planning, you will save ten minutes in execution.

By understanding and applying the 80/20 Rule, or Pareto Principle, to your life in the right way, you can and will be an achiever as you overcome those obstacles in front of you because you are so focused on the result that you will not let anything get in the way of success. In the long run you will find yourself ranking well above those apply the 20/80 rule to their life.

Best of LUCK as you
Labor Under Correct Knowledge…


Rick Cox