The Pareto Principle (80/20 Rule)

Kaizen Principles Addressed
High Yield Learning

Definition

Vilfredo Pareto was an economist who had the idea that there was an asymmetry between inputs and outputs. He described how 80% of the wealth in his country was held by 20% of the people. This became known as the Pareto Principle or the 80/20 rule.

Examples

  • 80% of business comes from 20% of the customers.
  • 20% of our problems consume 80% of our time.
  • 20% of the things we learn are used in 80% of situations

What does this mean for your journey?

We have to understand that some things are time or productivity sinks. Sometimes we focus too much on small things that barely affect our overall performance. Rather, we should focus on high yield information that gives us the most “bang for the buck”.

I am obsessed with finding these because they accelerate your improvement tremendously—most noticeably when you are at the beginning level of a task. Through a future weekly email, I will be sharing high yield strategies for improving in different fields of interest collected from reputable sources, interviews, and personal experience.

How do you implement this principle in every day life?

Take a minute to reflect on where you spend your time. Do a daily journal for a week and be honest about where you are spending your time.

Next, ask yourself: Is this the best use of my time?

Is the time I’m spending practicing or performing this task going to be worth the time put into it? You may find that you are spending excessive time doing things that have little value (social media).

Most of your time should be spent doing high yield activities. This is the key to growth. Strategies such as outsourcing, delegating, and dual-tasking can increase your gains tremendously.

Here’s my bit of advice for today: open an Audible account (here is a link) and start listening. Audiobooks are LIFE CHANGING. They let you dual-task chores or other low-yield tasks and turn them into high yield endeavors. If you have a commute and don’t utilize audiobooks…you are severely limiting your potential growth. I am able to get to 20-30 more books annually simply by turning on audible when I drive to work, do the laundry, and walk the dog.

Conclusions

The 80/20 Rule is an amazing way to analyze your tasks and habits in order to identify areas of potential improvement. However, we must be careful not to take it too far—overuse of the 80/20 rule can lead to ignoring details that may hold you back from true high level performance.

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