There is a lot of wisdom in the Pareto Principle. Use it wisely.

2 min readSep 9, 2020

Have you ever done something that would normally take days to complete within a few seconds, after procrastinating and pushing the tasks for a long time?

Most of the things we do in life are like this. It is very common to see less, but more focused and well-directed efforts lead to great successes. Whereas, more efforts with hours of contemplation and ineffective sweating end up unsuccessful.

The Pareto Principle, also the 80/20 rule, says that 80 percent of results come from 20 percent of the effort. This is widely implied in wider areas of life. Business and Economics are the most important areas that the 80/20 rule is commonly observed.

It is a widely accepted axiom in business that 80 percent of sales and profit comes from 20 percent of customers. Many businesses use it to work to meet the needs of their most valuable customers.

In economics, it has been observed that 80 percent of the world’s wealth comes from 20 percent of its population. And this applies not just to the amount of wealth they accumulated but also to the taxes they paid.

The Pareto Principle is also seen in the software industry. Microsoft has reported that fixing 20 percent of the most important errors fixed 80 percent of the bugs in its software. It also reported that 20 percent of the time is used to write 80 percent of the codes while the hardest 20 percent codes used 80 percent of the time.

Sports and health-care are other areas where the Pareto Principle is observed to work. So, how do we use Pareto’s principle in real life?

Abraham Lincoln said, “Give me six hours to cut a tree and I’ll spend the first hour sharpening the ax.” The first hour of sharpening would be so important that he will probably finish the work by the second hour, which he might not have been able to do in the whole six hours without the sharpening.

The 80/20 rule works the same way. Dedicate your resources to the things that have greater rewards. Devote yourself to the most important things that payoff. Work harder, but also smarter. That is how maximum achievements are attained.