Pareto Principle – Time is our most precious resources. If we are not able to use our time as we want, we don’t create results as desired. Think about your career for a minute. Do you feel that even after doing all that you can possibly do, you’re behind? And even after putting a lot of effort into your every work day success doesn’t seem to come to you?
If you say yes to one or both the questions above, read on. In this article, you will learn to use a principle in such a way that within 3-6 months, you will be able to multiply your results by at least 2-3 times.
First of all, we will explain the principle. Then we will talk about the relevance of the principle. And finally we will show you how to use the principle for multiplying the results in your career.
It was way back in 1896. An Italian Economist named Vilfredo Pareto published a paper where he mentioned that a phenomenon. He wrote that 80% of land in his country was owned by 20% of population. Later he developed the principle and the principal was named after him.
Now, how Pareto Principle would be relevant to you? How would you use? Understanding it is very simple. Putting it into practice makes the whole difference between people who only understand the principle and the people who create massive results!
Relevance of Pareto Principle
The question is not always why use it, the question is rather how to understand the relevance.
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There are typically 5 main reasons which make Pareto Principle relevant to your career and business. Here’s the list of 5.
The age of excessive information
Without any doubt, this is the age of massive information. Along with it, this is also the age of terrible distraction. It is being found in research that a human with a smart phone unlocks her phone 1000 times a day. Can you imagine how much time is being wasted just by receiving notifications and information? Every now and then, there is an update in your inbox, Facebook, Linked-In, Whatsapp and so on and so forth. Pareto Principle which is also called as 80-20 principle will help to curb these tendencies and you will be able to concentrate on the most important tasks.
Overwhelming load of mundane tasks and activities
Every organization wants to reduce their overhead cost. Thus they employ fewer people than they previously had. Moreover, the number of working professionals who work for themselves are gradually increasing. So, the people who work for an organization have to do all the administrative jobs that don’t yield much benefit to them. What to do then? Use Pareto Principle and convince your boss to outsource the less beneficial activities to the people who are experts in that domain.
Propensity to focus more on results
Ask any founder or employer of any organization? She wants results. No matter what you did and didn’t, it doesn’t matter to her. Only thing that is important to her is the results, the profits, maximization of wealth and increasing productivity. Pareto Principle will be your ally to create results she wants from you. You will use 80-20 principle and you will deliver, every single time.
Need to create more work-life balance
More organizations are realizing the value of work-life balance. If the employees are not given quality time to spend with their families, it will affect their productivity as well. Thus to reduce the workload, there is nothing better than the Pareto Principle. Even the employees are also realizing the value of working smarter than working harder.
Changing proportion of input equals output
Do you think that there is always room for generating the same as you put into the process? It is being found that effectiveness is more important the inputs one puts into the process. For example, if you want to finish your report in a week, you would be able to do it much better work if you improve the effectiveness of the procedures instead of putting in more hours. You can spend 15-20 hours into generating a report, but unless you design a great procedure, quality of report would not improve. What if you can create an effective system which will help you create the report just in 2 days without compromising on the quality? What then? Pareto Principle will help you do that.
But knowing the relevance is not enough. You need to know you would put Pareto Principle into practice. In the next section, we will talk about that – the application.
Application of the Pareto Principle
Let us state this first. Pareto Principle is not a magic bullet or a quick fix. You need to work to get the results. No, you don’t need to work harder, but you need to understand the concept, identify the things that are truly responsible for generating results and you also need to apply them into practice day in and day out in your career. If you can do these things, Pareto Principle can help you succeed.
Here is a list of things which you can do to multiply your career success using Pareto Principle.
#1 – Identify:
This is an important step and it would be different for everybody. What is important to a salesman wouldn’t be important to an HR executive. So, it is important that you know how to identify the important tasks. Follow the simple step by step process to identify the important tasks from unimportant tasks –
- First of all, make some time from your schedule to do this task. This is important and you need to invest quite some time for this.
- Make a list of all the tasks you do on a daily basis. If you’re marketing guy, you may be feeding data into the excel sheets, cold calling your potential clients, check out sales campaigns, evaluating the result of past week and many more such tasks.
- Now use a different colour pen to write down the impact of each task. Let’ say that the total impact is 100. And all that you do generate the total impact or results you create for yourself and for your organization.
- It’s completely your discretion to find out which one creates more impact. Usually there will be 2-3 tasks that will generate 80% of impact. Circle those and write them down in a separate sheet.
- You’re done identifying the top 20% of your tasks from your daily list of activities.
Once you identify the top 20% of the activities, it’s time to invest major time into those activities. To extend the example of marketing professional, let’s say that there are 3 things that create most impact – first, making cold calls, meeting the prospects who gave appointments and improving the delivery of presentation. Now you need to do the following things to give more emphasis on these high impact tasks –
- First be honest about how much you work in a day or in a week. Do your calculation. We’re not talking about working hours; rather we are talking about deep working hours when you’re actually involved in working. Usually, people work 4-5 hours daily (deep work). Let’s say you work 5 hours daily and that will give you 20 hours of deep work every week.
- Now you need to do these 3 things 80% of the time. In our example, you will invest 16 hours of time doing these 3 things which will give your maximum benefits.
- Once you allocate the hours, find out which one activity creates the most impact out of 3. It may be meeting people who have given appointments. So you need to spend at least half of the time doing that. That means you need to spend at least 8 hours per week meeting your prospects. Meaning, every day you will spend at least 1 hour 36 minutes on meeting prospects. You really don’t need to be that perfect. You can meet them for 1.5 hours every day.
Planning on Pareto Principle is easy part. But what’s hard is implementation because quite often than not human nature interferes with what we intend to do. We get distracted and we fall prey for other unimportant activities and all the high impact activities that we have planned to create massive results go in vain. So, here’s the process of implementation of Pareto Principle –
- Once you know the number 1 task to create massive result, all you need to do is to do it. But how would do it? Here’s how. Do it first thing in the morning. Once you come to office, set out to do the high impact task first thing in the morning. In our example, the highest impact task is to meet the prospect. So, once you come to office you will go and meet the prospect first thing in the morning.
- You may ask but if the prospect doesn’t want to meet me in the morning? Make sure that he does. Talk to the prospect beforehand. And create a schedule in the early morning to make things tick.
- There are two benefits of meeting your prospects in the morning. First once you meet your prospects first thing in the morning, you would not feel any burden on your shoulder as the highest impact task is already being done. Secondly, if you meet the prospect in the morning, normally both of you would be fresh and would be able to discuss about the product or services with open mind. It is being seen that what is done first thing in the morning yields better results than if it is being done in the evening.
There is no problem with Pareto Principle. If you face any issue with it, it would be with the implementation of it. The success of Pareto Principle exclusively depends on how you identify the highest impact tasks, how you prioritize, how you implement and finally how you evaluate. In this step, we will see how you can evaluate your results based on Pareto Principle. This is one of the most important steps which will take you to the step 1 i.e. identifying the highest impact tasks. Let’s see how you can use Pareto Principle to evaluate.
- You will get better results if you do it weekly. Don’t wait for a month or a quarter. Again, there’s no error with Pareto Principle. All errors are human errors (if any).
- At the end of Friday, take an hour to sit back and review the results you have created. Let’s say whatever results you created would be total 100%.
- Now use Pareto Principle. Do you think your highest impact activity created 80% of the result? If not why? Is it near 80%? How can you improve upon the process? If your highest impact task has generated 60-70% of results of the total results for the week, then all you need to do is to improve your skill and you will also get to know that you’re on a right track.
- If your highest impact task generated under 50% of result using Pareto Principle, then there is an issue with the identification. You need to go back to the first step to see whether you missed any point.
- The best way to find out what works or what doesn’t is to make a sub list of things you need to under your highest impact task/s. Which ones are you doing right? Are you skipping something? If you’re doing everything right and still creating less than 50% of results, then you need to go to step number 1 and that is to identify your highest impact tasks.
Pareto Principle is applicable in every sphere of our lives. All you need to is to understand Pareto Principle and follow the step mentioned above and you’re done. Pareto Principle always works but you need to realize that what creates better results? Which task creates better impacts or results? And do that thing most of the time.
If you find that at one step you’re getting stuck, go back to the previous step and find out why you’re facing problems. And whoa! You will be able to create massive results in your career, business and life using Pareto Principle.