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The 80 20 Rule - Pareto Principle, Explained

The 80 20 Rule - Pareto Principle, Explained

The 80 20 Rule - Pareto Principle, Explained

The 80 / 20 rule is often called the Pareto principle, after its discoverer, Vilfredo Pareto.

The 80 /20 rule originally stated that 80% (or more), of the wealth in any economy is owned by 20% (or less) of the population.

The 80 / 20 rule expanded its meaning to suggest the following is also true.

1. 80 % or more of the crime in any town is committed by 20% or less of the population.

2. 80 % or more of the traffic is on 20% or less of the road network.

3. 80 % or more of the questions come from 20% or less of the class.

4. 80 % or more of the value of a newspaper is contained in 20% or less of the content.

And so on....

The 80 / 20 rule means that 80 % or more of the value of something is contained in only 20% of its content.

How to use the Pareto 80/20 principle in your work?

You can use the 80 20 rule at work by understanding that 80 % of your value to your organisation is contained in only 20% (or less) of what you do.

Putting the same point in another way, 80% of what you do in a weeks' worth of effort, contributes very little to your value to your organisation.

A much smaller portion of what you do in a week is when you EARN YOUR WAGES.

The assumption is that there are usually between 5 and 9 activities that will account for 80% of your value to your organisation.

If you do these 5-9 activities well then, those activities are what you are paid for. All the other things you do, sitting in low value meetings, reading trivial emails, arguing with the manager, complaining about the system; none of this adds any value to the day and could theoretically be dispensed with.

Let us assume that there are about SIX tasks that constitute the Pareto 20%. Only six tasks that, if you did first and did well, would mean that you could go home early; safe in the knowledge that all the things that your job description demands, has been done, and you have earned your wages.

What would those tasks be?

For instance, my list is as follows. It contains only four items.

1. Website search engine optimisation work.

2. Sales calls.

3. Preparation for training.

4. Delivery of training.

That is my pareto list. If I do these things well, then I am earning my wages. Every task that takes me off these things is relatively a waste of time; or even counterproductive.

Does the Pareto Principle apply to everything?

Yes! What list of about six items, constitute your list of pareto 20% activities?

To repeat the question: what are the six activities that, if you did first and you did well, would mean that you could go home early; safe in the knowledge that you have done all the most valuable things, and you have earned your wages?

Once you know your Pareto 20% list of six items, then your mission is to spend as much time as you can on those items and perfect them.

Keep away from doing things that take you off your pareto 20% list. These other tasks are relatively trivial, and they are not what you are there to do.

Your mission, should you decide to accept it is to......

Take a card and make a list of six pareto 20% items. Then pin it to your PC and spend your time primarily doing the things that are on that list.

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