Pareto principle or 80/20 rule: what is it and what is its use?

At some point you’ve probably noticed that
some people manage to accomplish seemingly very difficult things and more in record time.

So you will know that someone who works a few hours a day earns a lot of money or gets academic results by investing little time in studies; or that in addition to studying, he works with a much higher performance than his peers and devotes only two or three hours to studies (weekends not included).

The Pareto Principle: A Tip for Understanding Success and Failure

How do they do it ?, What’s the trick? You must know one thing: you can do the same as them, in what way ?, By applying the
Pareto Principles.

The name of this method is due to Vilfredo Pareto, economist and sociologist of the twentieth century. In Italy, at that time, 20% of the population represented 80% of the economic capital. This same phenomenon can be extrapolated today to the rest of the world, but the pattern remains the same: few monopolize a lot while most have very little.

An example to understand the 80/20 rule

I will tell you about my personal experience in applying this system. Previously I spent a lot of time at work and the only downside was not only the hours spent but also the effort involved. You could say he was the first to arrive at the office and the last to leave, I had no choice but to spend nights and weekends working.

Despite my great daily effort, I did not stand out in terms of merit. The credit went to others who apparently worked much less. This caused me huge frustration, I told myself that I am not trying hard enough but then even though I tried much harder if so the same happened as in the myth from Sisyphus, this one involved a boulder on top of the mountain because by the time it arrives, it will come down and up again each day one after the other.

At that moment I realized that something was wrong. It is impossible that by using all this time and effort, he has not achieved the same success as other colleagues, although he is just as intelligent. I thought there was something I needed to change, and that’s how I started to focus on this group of people. I started to notice how they did things and compare them to the way I did them. These people exclusively did what they had to, but not only that, but they also did it as they had to. They did it right, efficiently.

However, I did the exact opposite, it got over me in what I had to do and therefore what I had to do was not do it right. For example, when writing a report, I added countless details and decorated it in a way that was easy to read. I noticed that this group of people did the exact opposite, just writing what was strictly necessary without adornments or frills in a way that saved effort and time.

I would like to continue with many more examples, but this way I would never end. However, I want to add that when applying the Pareto principle my situation gave a 180 degree change. This is how I was introduced to this privileged group. The Pareto Principle does not apply exclusively to the workplace, but is also used in studies and in many other areas of our life.

What exactly is the Pareto principle?

This principle is also known as the “parking factor principle” or the “80/20 rule”. It is not that in all occasions the rule of 80/20 is applied, sometimes it can vary in the 90/10 or the 70/30 … Anyway, we will take the reference of the 80 / 20.

It is: 20% of what companies generate 80% of what they get and conversely, 80% of what you invest only generates 20%.

For example: with my neighbors in my neighborhood, I played basketball, I took it very seriously, I wanted to be the best player, I trained really hard and I even spent overtime alone. However, it was others who scored baskets and achieved success. I worked hard, ran nonstop, stole balls and made masterful passes, I was not a bad player but on the contrary, it looks like my level exceeded that of a neighborhood team. But despite everything, there are others who have received applause and always according to the goals scored.

It happened that 80% of what I was doing in preparation was exclusively related to possession of the ball, helping teammates and fitness. And what did you get? for 20% of success. Because? Well, because I didn’t make any baskets.

The difference between the gregarious personality and the leader

How did this person or couple manage to lead the team and take home the laurels? They didn’t run too much and didn’t work as hard as 120% like I did during their training. However, they made baskets and ultimately it was the score on the scoreboard that determined victory in a competition. I don’t come to talk about being a selfish person who is already hoarding the ball, even if that means missing a field goal to not want to pass the ball. What i mean is that I didn’t focus on what produced the results I wanted. I almost always thought about making good passes but not being the one to score the basket, and while giving good passes isn’t a bad thing, I didn’t achieve what I was hoping for that way. .

Finally I will say that in the last few seasons that I have played I have had a lot more fun than in all the previous ones and I have also become the player who has scored the most goals. Not because I was the best of all, but because I thought I was doing baskets and that’s where I focused my efforts. Not that he scored them all, but he scored quite a few points in every game. I didn’t focus on running more than the others or on optimizing passing, but just looking for good positions to score. If I saw an opportunity, I would look for it as much as possible. And so, running less, doing fewer passes and being a lot less tired, I got better results.

Daily examples of the 80/20 principle

  • You only use 20% of the functionality of your smartphone, there are 80% left but you do not use it.
  • You invest 80% when you surf the Internet and you get 20% of the information that interests you or that you did not know. Only 20% of your time is useful.
  • You only eat sweets before training because you think it is the fastest way to get carbohydrates and therefore energy, but soon that energy is gone, you feel tired and you have to eat sweets again. According to the Pareto principle, 80% of the cakes you eat only give you 20% of the energy you need (80/20).
  • You invest 80% of your salary when buying new clothes and 20% of your wardrobe is what you use for dressing.
  • When you drink a beer, 20% of what you drink is used for something, the remaining 80% is rejected by your body. It would probably be better to apply a ratio of 95/5.

Bring performance to the Pareto principle in your studies

  • If you meet the teacher, you manage to resolve doubts at the same time as you make yourself known, thus showing interest in the subject … why don’t you go do it?
  • If in class you are recommended 10 books from which you can obtain the information necessary to obtain the best mark in a subject, but which you know that in two of them you will find all the information to be successful in this material, just focus on these two and on the case that you use it over time in others.
  • If you spend 4 hours running and weighting every week, and with that, you have enough to stay in shape and feel agile. Why not do it instead of signing up for the gym, going to the pool, and taking vitamin complexes? Realize that in addition to the time you spend in the gym and the pool, you are investing a lot of time both ways – that is, 8 hours per week. This is what we mean.
  • 80% of the score for an exam depends on a written text that you must present, and 20% of the score results from the four books recommended in the subject’s bibliography. Don’t focus too much on the books and focus more on the document.
  • If you are going to invest your money in something that you will hardly ever wear, for whatever reason, why invest your money this way?

How to correctly apply this maxim?

As we have seen, the Pareto principle is something like the law of least effort. This allows us to focus our efforts on what is really productive for us; this helps us to optimize our time and resources.

they are going there three additional tips for correctly applying this principle:

  • Watch carefully how others are doing it to achieve these great results.
  • Look inside yourself, focus on what is giving you a good result, focus your efforts on that point, and avoid everything else.
  • Practice! Practice what works for others and in the same way, do the same with what works for you.

All you have to do is wait for the results to come by themselves by applying this 80/20 rule!

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