The 80/20 Rule – Pareto Principle

and how to apply it in your everyday life …

Do you know the Pareto principle? It is an empirical principle, which means that it’s often encountered in practice. For example, it is considered that 80% of a company’s income is generated by 20% of the customers or in a completely different field that 20% of our clothes are worn 80% of the time.

It takes its name from Vilfredo Pareto who, at the end of the 19th century, carried out analyses of financial data and found that approximately 80% of countries’ wealth is owned by approximately 20% of the population. Over the years other studies have been carried out in different fields and it was a quality specialist named Joseph Juran who used for the first time in 1954 the expression “Pareto principle” who noted the 80/20 connection.

Application of the principle in everyday life

In 2004, the Englishman Richard Koch studied the subject. His purpose was to explain this principle in a way to inspire its application in everyday life and thus impact the achievement and happiness of each individual.

In his book “Living the 80/20 Way – Work less, Worry less, Succeed more, Enjoy more” he applies the reflection that 20% of our actions bring 80% of our happiness. In this case, why should we continue to focus on the 80% of actions that generate only 20% of results? It would be beneficial to identify these 80%, eliminate them and thus free up time, energy and money and reinvest them in actions that really matter.

Doing more by doing less

Koch says that doing less means getting more. Contrary to popular beliefs, for example, that we should work harder to succeed, we could work less and be more successful, we could be less anxious and enjoy life more, we could be less busy and be more present for people that really matter.

In summary, we should put more effort into simplifying life than complicating it and always find something that is both better and simpler, offer more with less.

The application in a nutshell

To start living the 80/20 principle, we have to focus on what we like and not try to do everything. This will free up time to do what is important to us. Then we need to focus on the best 20%, the 20% efforts that makes 80% of our happiness.

To achieve this result, Richard Koch proposes the method: destination, route and actions.

  1. Define the Destination: Where do you want to go in the different aspects of your life (personal development, work and success, money, relationships, life in general)? Focus on what you like, on the things that are most important to you.
  1. Define The Route: Find the easiest route for you to get there, the route that will require the less efforts and produce the desired results. Imagine all the probabilities. To give you an image, if you are a mountain biker, taking a mountain road will not require too much effort, but if you are a swimmer, crossing a lake will be more suitable for you.
  1. Define Actions: Decide what actions to take depending on the Destination and Route chosen, and define the order of completion and what is the most important. There is no need to set deadlines, the important thing is the Destination.

This may seem somewhat simplistic, but it is a very effective tool. However, as with many personal development tools, this requires regular reassessment and personal involvement. But at the end, it’s always worth it 🙂

“If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done. “

Thomas Jefferson