May 24, 2021
min read

The Pareto Principle: Achieve More by Doing Less

The productivity principle that's as tested as it's alluring!

The 80/20 Principle, like the truth, can make you free. You can work less. At the same time, you can earn more and enjoy more. The only price is that you need to do some serious 80/20 thinking.

So from the above quote, you must be thinking of what is 80/20? which rule am I talking about? what truth? and more queries. Don’t worry, I will tell you everything in detail.

What is the 80/20 rule?

The 80/20 Rule or The Pareto principle states that, for many outcomes, roughly 80% of consequences come from 20% of the causes. This is the “universal truth” about the imbalance of the no. of inputs and outputs. For example –

  • 20% of the sales reps generate 80% of total sale
  • 20% of customers account for 80% of total profits.
  • 80% of the total products in India are produced by 20% of the companies
  • 80% of the traffic is caused by 20% of the drivers
  • In your closet, you have 80% of the clothes that you can were daily or often but you wear just 20% of them

How can you use this in your life?

I will give you some tips so that you can use it in your daily life and be successful with not much effort.

The 80/20 principle in work

Increase Productivity:

  • The Pareto Principle is extremely useful for determining which areas to focus your efforts and resources on to achieve maximum efficiency. By utilizing the 80/20 rule, individual employees can prioritize their tasks so that they can focus on the critical 20% that will produce 80% of the results. Of course, this is not an indisputable figure, but the Pareto Principle teaches employees to not waste time, that will contribute to the long-term goal, and to focus their resources that will produce the majority of the results.
  • Similarly, the Pareto Principle can be used to identify the causes of unproductiveness in the workplace. As a manager, you can utilize the 80/20 rule to establish the 20% of causes that result in 80% of the unproductivity and subsequently take appropriate measures to resolve the issue that causes this.

Increase Profit:

  • It is a common occurrence in any business that, roughly 20% of your salesmen produce 80% of your sales. Depending on your end goals, the Pareto Principle can be utilized to determine whether you need to focus your effort and resources on the 20% of staff that produce most of your sales to further improve their skills or to focus on the 80% of other employees that are struggling to bring in any sale.
  • The Pareto Principle indicates that a small percentage of your total amount of customers produces the majority of revenue. Similarly, only a handful of your products or services attract the most sales. As such, analyzing the leads and current customers you have can help you determine which ones have produced the most revenue in the past so that you can focus on pursuing only the most valuable leads.

Website Optimization:

  • The 80/20 rule suggests that a standard overview of your business’s website analytics will indicate that roughly 80% of traffic lands on 20% of your website pages. The 20% of pages that attract the most views are generally the critical pages that display content concerning the purchasing process of your product or service. Using the Pareto Principle to analyse how traffic flows through your website will allow you to optimize it to ensure that it is straightforward for your viewers to access the critical pages of your website. This is not only proven to increase sales, but it also allows your business to grow at a faster rate with lower amounts of traffic.

The 80/20 principle in time management

  • Identify your key tasks based on your goals. The best way to improvise in life and seize the day is to pen down your daily tasks first thing when you wake up. In the beginning, you may hate this but when you do it on regular basis, you’ll notify the advantages of it. If you take out 20% of your time, it will benefit you for 80% of the leftover day. Trust me! it helps.
  • Another habit that you should adopt is when you wake up apart from noting down your tasks you should try exercising or doing yoga or perhaps study. Try to make 20% of your day (i.e around the first 3 hours) productive. This will result in a merry and joyful 80% leftover day.
  • Create a plan to do more that brings you more value. Use the 80/20 rule to prioritize any project you’re working on. Nothing is impossible. Ergo, try everything then rationalize what you like and what you don’t.

The 80/20 principle in life

  • Use the 80/20 framework. After you have evaluated your goals and tasks using the 80/20 framework, it’s so much easier to focus on the right things. Since you’ll be focusing on what will bring you more value, you’ll start to see the results faster. This can also be another incentive to continue to focus on what matters the most.
  • WORK SMARTER. This should be a constant basis in our daily lives: evaluate, prioritize, focus, and continuously work. Don’t be discouraged, work smarter, and help your team to work towards their goals.

The man behind the rule

Vilfredo Federico Damaso Pareto was born in Italy in 1848. He was an important philosopher and economist. One day he noticed that 20% of the pea plants in his garden generated 80% of the healthy pea pods. This observation caused him to think about uneven distribution. He thought about wealth and discovered that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by just 20% of the population. He investigated different industries and found that 80% of production typically came from just 20% of the companies. This investigation gave a conclusion that everything in this universe can be rationalized by the 80/20 Rule. Now, this principle has two sides:

  • First is the positive side wherein the input is less (i.e 20%) but the output is more (i.e 80%). For example – Ned is a student who learns 20% of a text and is successful in remembering 80% of it.
  • Second is the negative side wherein the input is more (i.e 80%) but the output is less (i.e 20%). For example – Fred is another student who learns 80% of a text at once but he can remember just 20% of it

What is the difference between Ned and Fred?

The main difference is that when Ned learned just 20% of the text yet he did it with FULL CONCENTRATION and ZERO DISTRACTION. On the other hand, when Fred learned 80% of the same text, he may think that he is doing it with concentration but actually, he isn’t. He got distracted several times and that resulted in remembering just 20% of what he learned.


In a nutshell, THE 80/20 RULE is the most important of all the rules and principles you have studied to date. It is not a principle of science but it is a principle of life; a principle to help you achieve more by doing less.