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Introduction to Pareto Principle

Time is our most precious resource. If we cannot use our time as we want, we don’t create results as desired. Think about your career for a minute. Do you feel that even after doing all that you can do, you’re behind? And even after putting a lot of effort into your every work day, success doesn’t seem to come to you.

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Pareto Principle

It was way back in 1896. An Italian Economist named Vilfredo Pareto published a paper mentioning that phenomenon. He wrote that 80% of land in his country was owned by 20% of the population. Later he developed the principle, and the principal was named after him. How would Pareto Principle be relevant to you? How would you use it? Understanding it is very simple. Putting it into practice makes the real difference between people who only understand the principle and the people who create massive results!

Relevance of Pareto Principle

The question is not always why use it; it is how to understand the relevance. Typically, five reasons make Pareto Principle relevant to your career and business. Here’s the list of 5.

The Age of excessive information

Without any doubt, this is the Age of massive information. Along with it, this is also the Age of terrible distraction. It is found in research that a human with a smartphone unlocks her phone 1000 times a day. Can you imagine how much time is wasted just by receiving notifications and information? Now and then, there is an update in your inbox, Facebook, Linked In, Whatsapp, and so on. Pareto Principle, which is also called as 80-20 principle, will help to curb these tendencies, and you will be able to concentrate on the most critical tasks.

Overwhelming load of mundane tasks and activities

Every organization wants to reduce its overhead cost. Thus they employ fewer people than they previously had. Moreover, the number of working professionals who work for themselves gradually increases. So, the people who work for an organization have to do all the administrative jobs that don’t yield many benefits to them. What to do, then? Use Pareto Principle and convince your boss to outsource the less beneficial activities to the experts in that domain.

Propensity to focus more on results

Ask any founder or employer of any organization. She wants results. No matter what you did and didn’t, it doesn’t matter to her. The only thing necessary to her is the results, the profits, the maximization of wealth, and increasing productivity. Pareto Principle will be your ally to create the results she wants from you. You will use the 80-20 principle and deliver every single time.

We need to create more work-life balance Changing the proportion of input equals output

Is there always room for generating the same as you put into the process? Effectiveness is more important than the inputs one puts into the process. For example, if you want to finish your report in a week, you can do much better work if you improve the effectiveness of the procedures instead of putting in more hours. You can spend 15-20 hours generating a report, but you need to design an excellent strategy to maintain the quality of the information. Can you create an effective system to help you make the report in 2 days without compromising quality? What then? Pareto Principle will help you do that.

But more than knowing the relevance is required. You need to know you would put Pareto Principle into practice. In the next section, we will talk about that – the application.

Applications of Pareto Principle

Let us state this first. Pareto Principle is not a magic bullet or a quick fix. It would be best if you worked to get the results. No, you don’t need to work harder. Still, you need to understand the concept and identify the things that are truly responsible for generating results, and you also need to apply them to practice day in and day out in your career. If you can do these things, Pareto Principle can help you succeed.

Here is a list of things you can do to multiply your career success using the Pareto Principle.

1. Identity

First, make some time from your schedule to do this task. This is important, and you must invest some time in this.

Make a list of all the tasks you do daily. If you’re a marketing guy, you may be feeding data into the Excel sheets, cold calling your potential clients, checking out sales campaigns, evaluating the result of the past week, and many more such tasks.

Now use a different color pen to write down the impact of each lesson. Let’s say that the total effect is 100. And all you do generates the full implications or results you create for yourself and your organization.

It’s entirely your discretion to find out which one makes more impact. Usually, there will be 2-3 tasks that will generate 80% of the effect. Circle those and write them down on a separate sheet.

You’re done identifying the top 20% of your tasks from your daily list of activities.

2. Prioritize

Once you identify the top 20% of the activities, it’s time to invest significant time. To extend the example of a marketing professional, let’s say three things create the most impact – first, making cold calls, meeting the prospects who gave appointments, and improving the presentation delivery. Now you need to do the following things to give more emphasis on these high-impact tasks –

First, be honest about how much you work in a day or a week. Do your calculation. We’re not talking about working hours; instead, we are talking about deep working hours when you’re involved in working. Usually, people work 4-5 hours daily (deep work). Let’s say you work 5 hours daily, giving you 20 hours of deep work weekly.

Now you need to do these 3 things 80% of the time. In our example, you will invest 16 hours doing these three things, maximizing benefits.

Once you allocate the hours, determine which activity creates the most impact out of 3. It may be meeting people who have given appointments. So it would be best to spend at least half the time doing that. That means you must spend at least 8 hours meeting your prospects weekly. You will spend at least 1 hour 36 minutes meeting candidates every day. You don’t need to be that perfect. You can meet them for 1.5 hours every day.

3. Implement

Planning on Pareto Principle is the easy part. But implementation is tricky because, quite often than not, human nature interferes with what we intend to do. We get distracted and fall prey to other unimportant activities, and all the high-impact activities we have planned to create massive results go in vain. So, here’s the process of implementation of the Pareto Principle –

Once you know the number 1 task to create massive results, all you need to do is to do it. But how would you do it? Here’s how. Do it first thing in the morning. Once you come to the office, set out to do the high-impact task first thing in the morning. In our example, the highest impact task is to meet the prospect. So, once you come to the office, you will meet the prospect first thing in the morning.

You may ask, but if the prospect doesn’t want to meet me in the morning? Make sure that he does. Talk about the opportunity beforehand. And create a schedule in the early morning to make things tick.

There are two benefits of meeting your prospects in the morning. First, once you complete your chances first thing in the morning, you will not feel any burden on your shoulder as the highest impact task is already being done. Secondly, if you meet the prospect in the morning, you would usually be fresh and able to discuss the product or services with an open mind. It is being seen that what is done first thing in the morning yields better results than if it is done in the evening.

4. Evaluate

There is no problem with Pareto Principle. If you face any issue with it, it would be with the implementation of it. The success of the Pareto Principle exclusively depends on how you identify the highest impact tasks, how you prioritize, how you implement, and finally, how you evaluate. In this step, we will see how you can evaluate your results based on Pareto Principle. This is one of the most critical steps to take you to step 1, i.e., identifying the highest impact tasks. Let’s see how you can use Pareto Principle to evaluate.

You will get better results if you do it weekly. Don’t wait for a month or a quarter. Again, there’s no error with Pareto Principle. All errors are human errors (if any).

At the end of Friday, take an hour to sit back and review the results you have created. Let’s say whatever results you make would total 100%.

Now use Pareto Principle. Did your highest impact activity create 80% of the result? If not, why? Is it near 80%? How can you improve upon the process? If your highest impact task has generated 60-70% of results of the total marks for the week, then all you need to do is to improve your skill, and you will also get to know that you’re on the right track.

If your highest impact task generated under 50% of the result using Pareto Principle, then there is an issue with the identification. It would help to return to the first step to see whether you missed any point.

The best way to find out what works or doesn’t is to make a sub-list of things you need to do under your highest impact task/s. Which ones are you doing right? Are you skipping something? If you’re doing everything right and still creating less than 50% of results, then you need to go to step number 1, and that is to identify your highest impact tasks.


Pareto Principle is applicable in every sphere of our lives. All you need to do is understand Pareto Principle and follow the abovementioned step, and you’re done. Pareto Principle always works, but you must realize what creates better results. Which task produces better impacts or results? And do that thing most of the time.

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