Whether we know what Pareto Law is or not, we are all trying to advance in life, in both work and in our daily lives.
Yet, it can be difficult to get the balance right. A lot of the time, we can feel as though we are doing an awful lot of work for very little gain. This can be endlessly frustrating when we have a lot of commitments to keep track of. What if I were to tell you that you can minimise your efforts and still maximise the gain? How? The answer is the use of Pareto Law.
What Is Pareto Law?
Pareto Law or Pareto Principle is traditionally used in business and is known as the 80-20 rule: 80% of the positive results come from only 20% of the effort.
It was created by Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto in 1896. He noted that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by just 20% of the population.
In 100% of effort, around 20% of your work is on the vital tasks which will bring about the positive 80% of results. The remaining 80% of your efforts are on trivial tasks which take up the most time but do not offer the most results.
Pareto Law can be applied in any sphere, at work, at home, and in self-improvement. Here’s how.
The goal of Pareto Law is to work smarter. Establish the activities that you feel waste the most of your time. It’s easy to assume that all tasks are important but in reality, you know which ones are wasting time.
Urgency and Importance
Categorise your work into four categories: Urgent and Important; Non-urgent and Important; Urgent but not important; and Non-urgent and not important. Splitting your tasks into this grid allows you to visualise the tasks that you need to prioritise. It will help you keep the Urgent-Important category under control.
Work in batches
Set a time for answering emails and making calls, perhaps at the beginning and at the end of your day. Get it all done at once rather than constantly stopping mid-flow to answer an email. This will help you maintain your focus during the most important tasks and maximise your output.
Learn to say NO
Learn to value your time. When it comes to a job, time is money. Time taken to answer questions or to offer your opinion when helping someone else is all taking time away from your own work. If someone wants to pick your brain, allocate time specifically for that meeting.
Again, it won’t break your focus and you’ll be able to organise your time better when you aren’t constantly interrupted.
Traditionally kept in the business world, Pareto Law can be helpful to apply it in our personal lives. Not only to help us achieve our goals but to get the most enjoyment out of the little free time we have.
Again, the goal is to prioritise. There are two important questions here:
- If you had to pick only 20% of your activities with the greatest payoff, which would they be?
- If you had to pick 20% of your activities that give you the most enjoyment, which would they be?
Categorising our free time by answering these questions gives a better understanding of the things we enjoy and the things we need to do.
By prioritising some tasks over others, we can still complete the essential tasks, but also have time for a hobby or skill.
Goals are one of the best ways to establish which tasks will get you the best results and which will get you the most enjoyment. Whether you want to learn a new language or learn to dance, establishing little goals on the way to your bigger goal helps you to see what you need to do to maximise your time.
One of the best things about Pareto Law is that we can shift the way we apply the law to get positive effects. It may seem cold to apply a rule of business into relationships, but you can’t argue with results.
What’s the real problem?
80% of the problems in relationships are caused by 20% of the problems (roughly). It is frustrating that your partner leaves their socks lying around or doesn’t do their share of the housework, but your frustration may have a deeper cause. Perhaps that you may feel taken for granted or not valued enough.
Take time to figure out the underlying cause of an issue rather than getting frustrated at the symptom.
Time for YOU
It’s natural to get into the habit of spending every minute of every day with the ones we love. But it doesn’t leave much time for us. Setting aside 20% of your time to spend alone, doing the things you enjoy, can do wonders for your relationship.
By doing activities apart, you have more to talk about together and have some much-deserved space to focus on you.
Pareto Law is not a rule of law but a simple observation into how humans work. We don’t have to get through every single task to get to where we want to be. Prioritisation can go a long way in reaching our goals. Prioritise different areas of your life by the 80-20 rule and we promise that you will see results.
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