The Pareto Principle or the “80-20 Rule” conveys that the 20 percent of something is deemed always responsible for 80 percent of the outcome. Interestingly, the Pareto Principle can be applied in a lot of fields, subjects or circumstances.
For project managers, they are aware that 20 percent of the tasks takes up 80 percent of their resources, including time. For sales managers, 20 percent of their stocks consume 80 percent of the storage space. And so on and so forth.
Pareto Principle and your Business Strategy
But as a business-minded and success-driven individual, how can this Pareto Principle apply to you? The essence of the 80-20 principle is that it urges you to concentrate on the 20 percent that matters. Of all the tasks that you perform in one day, it is actually only 20 percent that really counts. And this 20 percent you concentrate on yields the 80 percent of the results.
Hence, you will need to discover these things you need to focus and concentrate on. When your schedule gets mixed up, or there are roadblocks along the way, make sure that the 20 percent is still covered.
Some of you might be thinking that this 80-20 rule debunks the “Give your 100% always” rule. It is actually a different case but if this should teach you something, it is that you should know how to set your standards properly.
If you expect too much and raise the bar high, then it is you yourself who have the hard time. Instead of aiming for perfection or for the impossible, aim for the practical and the doable. Your time can be more productive if you spend it wisely on a focal point that you know will yield better results. Go for the 80 percent of the results coming from 20 percent of action taken, as compared to just 20 percent results from 80 percent actions and effort undertaken.
I know most of you are driven, business-minded individuals, who were taught in school to “aim high” and “shoot for the stars” always. Whilst this perseverance is commendable, it is not always practical. In trying to reach the impossible and striving for perfection you give yourself a hard time. Anyway, what is perfection… does it exist?
In striving for perfection, you lose time, energy, and effort, and probably at some point confidence and belief in oneself when you don’t achieve the high standards you have set. The key here is, as conveyed by the 80/20 rule, sometimes good is good enough. Know your limits, and know where to set your focus, so that in the least amount of efforts, you would produce great, astounding results.
The Pareto Principle must be a constant reminder for you to concentrate 80 percent of your time and effort on the 20 percent of the work that is critical. Working hard is not enough. You should work hard on the right stuff.
About the Author
Sandra Hinshelwood is a business coach and mentor. Drawing upon her experience as a virtual assistant and team leader in the corporate world, she works with small business owners and solopreneurs to eliminate feelings of overwhelm and empowering them to focus on their goals and visions with greater clarity.