Monday, May 31, 2010

Working by the 80 – 20 Principle

The Pareto Principle or 80-20 rule has been a major concept in business management for many years. This theory was created by Vilfredo Pareto an Italian economist who in 1906 noticed that 80% of the land was owned by 20% of the people. The 80-20 rule simply means that 20% of causes produce 80% of the results/effects. For example, in the sales industry the Pareto Principle says that 80% of a company’s sales are due to 20% of the sales staff. Office professionals are approached with various tasks, deadlines, and projects each day. The ability to work by the Pareto Principle will allow you to effectively focus on projects and prioritize your day. Here are a few ways this concept can be applied to our everyday life:

1. Identify the focus.

Since we know that 20% of what we do produces 80% of the outcome, it is logical to say that if we want to be successful at what we do, we need to focus on the 20%. Look at it this way, if there is a document that needs to be proofread and we don’t find the mistakes, that document is going to make a huge impact. Receivers of the document may get the wrong interpretation or the wrong impression. So the 20% is very important.

2. Realize that little things do matter.

Many times there are smaller tasks that need to be completed in order to achieve the main objective or goal. Completing those smaller tasks will enable you to get to the 80% more quickly and effectively.

3. Prioritize.
Make a list of tasks and projects and next to each identify how long it will take to complete. The tasks that take the least amount of time and complete those first. This is the 20% that will ultimately have an 80% result.

Applying the 80-20 rule to worklife is essential to success. Identifying what needs to be completed in order to get to the major goal is important in any business or field. This principle will not only make your work day more productive, but also effectively manage your time and tasks.


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