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Time Management Tip: The 80-20 Rule

The 80-20 Rule. Pareto Principle. Law of the Vital Few. The Principle of Factor Sparsity. Regardless of what you call it, it has the same powerful meaning:

80% of your outcomes are due to 20% of your input.

This means the inverse is also true: 20% of our outcomes are due to 80% of our input. We see examples of this concept everywhere. Consider the following examples:

  • 80% of your sales likely come from 20% of your customers.
  • You likely wear 20% of your wardrobe 80% of the time.
  • 80% of results in an organization often come from 20% of the workforce.
  • You likely see 20% of your friends and family 80% of the time.

Feel free to take a minute here if your mind is blown. It’s pretty powerful. Once you are aware of it, you will begin to see the 80-20 rule in so many aspects of your life, and that is a great thing!

Understanding and identifying the 80-20 rule in your life will help you prioritize and reduce wasted effort, especially as it pertains to time management, productivity, and reaching goals. Consider the following:

  • 20% of each work day is resulting in 80% of your results.
  • 12 minutes of every hour are making up 80% of your results.
  • 2 of every 10 items on your to-do list make up 80% of your results.

Take a look at your plans for the week. What tasks, appointments, calls, etc. will be responsible for 80% of your successes? Start with those items. Prioritize them, focus on them, and get them done!


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