Would you like to discover a principle that would help you get the results you want faster? This is the 80/20 principle, also called the “Pareto law”, through which you can double or even triple the quantity and quality of what you get. This article will show you how to apply this principle to your life.

A surprising advantage

Did you know that your potential is unlimited? Sounds hard to believe? There really is no limit if you know how to operate properly. It can become easy to react to daily concerns without trying to get more results out of our actions.

For more success, you need to know where to concentrate your efforts in terms of priority. Why is this so important? Because of a simple observation described as the 80/20 law. According to this principle, 80% of results you get come from only 20% of your business! That means that 80% of your activities produce only 20% of your results.

A useful principle

The Pareto law is very convenient. What you need to especially remember is that only 20% of all your efforts achieve 80% of your goals. The rest of your efforts provide only negligible results.

Author Richard Koch is a specialist of the 80/20 principle. He said that the two ideas underlying the principle are:

1. Less is more.

2. We can do more with less.

Thus, to increase your results, you must first identify what activities give you the most; then, focus more on these activities. But that’s not all; you should also reduce or eliminate the least useful activities. The 80/20 principle is a bit like making juice concentrate! You eliminate most of your activities with low value (the water) and keep only the essentials (the concentrate). But be careful of going overboard with this. Don’t forget that your personal achievements have been through your own abilities so far, and it’s hard to be objective about what is “water” and what is “concentrate.”

Two questions to properly apply the principle 80/20

  1. What are the 20% of my activities that provide me the best results in large quantities?
  2. How do I alter my activities in order to give more room for those which bring me the most results, while decreasing the ones that give me the least?

Take advantage of the 80/20 principle

If you apply the principle of 80/20, you will see remarkable improvements in your life. A specialist in strategic improvement explains the 80/20 principle can apply both in business and in life in general. According to him, “a company that wants to improve the way it is has an interest in applying this principle by better supporting that 20% of employees that contributes towards 80% of its success.”

But these benefits are not just for businesses. “The same principle applies to decisions of a person,” he adds. “For example, if you run a very tight schedule, your choices should focus on the 20% of your activities that gives you 80% of your results.”

Your success depends on the activities, tasks, habits, relationships, goals, and so forth that provide the results you want. The 80/20 principle lies at the heart of strategies that you can apply to your life by which you will achieve more while working less.

Some examples of the 80/20 principle

  • 20% of cases cause 80% effect.
  • 20% of factors influence 80% of the targets.
  • 20% of the means used to achieve 80% of the targets.
  • 20% of working time sufficient to achieve 80% of a task.
  • 20% of your results come from 80% of your time.

Suggested reading

Richard Koch:

  • The 80/20 Principle. Nicholas Brealey Publishing, 1997, Doubleday 1998
  • The 80/20 Revolution. Nicholas Brealey Publishing, 2002, published in the U.S. as The 80/20 Individual: Doubleday, 2003.
  • Living the 80/20 Way. Nicholas Brealey Publishing, 2004.