The Pareto Principle: Using 20% efforts to get 80% results

You might have heard of this 80/20 principle on a lot on blogs, YouTube videos, and podcasts and how this principle is applied across various fields from business to film-making and many more. For those who are not aware, let me brief you up.

Source: https://www.teodesk.com/blog/the-pareto-principal-are-you-wasting-80-of-your-time/

The 80/20 rule or the Pareto Principle says that 80% of your results come from 20% of the inputs/efforts. Sounds cool, doesn’t it? I have seen many minimalist YouTubers and Podcasters using this principle by framing it in a slightly different way that 80% of your happiness comes from 20% of the possessions you own.

I had heard from one such podcast about how a person had once asked Warren Buffett how to achieve goals or something. Buffett told him to write down his top 25 goals. On writing this down, Buffett then asked him to cut down the list so that just 5 goals remain. The person did so. He asked if that’s what it meant — that he had to focus on just these 5 goals primarily and focus on the rest whenever he had spare time to kill. The answer came a flat ‘NO!’. Buffett answered that he was supposed to focus just on the 5 that were on the list and forget the rest once and for all because it was the other 20 goals on the list, that he had cut down, that were derailing him from the path of achieving the 5 important goals that he had listed finally.

Do you observe the Pareto Principle being applied here? Intentionally or unintentionally? By telling the person to focus on just 5 out of 25 goals listed, Buffett was implying how the 20% effort was going to bring him maximum results.

Personally, even I have used this principle in a way to cut down my To-Do List by listing no more than 3–5 tasks for the day no matter what (PS: Using Rule of Three, too). This has in a way helped me focus on what is more important and leave the rest for some other day. Thus, my attention span is less hijacked by trivial tasks and allows me to hyperfocus on what is in front of me for the time being.

The Pareto Principle can be used in so many different ways for just as many tasks as we have in the world that, it is beyond the scope of this post to explain all the different ways. Have you used the 80/20 rule before and in what way? Let’s see what you have to share with us in the comments below.

Takeaway: Most of the results seem to come from just minimum efforts or inputs. It is important to realize which of these inputs matter using the Pareto Principle ( or the 80/20 rule).

-Aditya Darekar

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