Eighty percent of your results come from 20% of your efforts. It is called the Pareto principle. The trick is finding and focusing on your 20% that makes you the most money. If you can understand the inner workings of this principle, than you can become a better employee or boss and increase your productivity in your career.
Pareto Principle Is Everywhere
You can find the Pareto Principle at work in your life everywhere you turn. Think about your closet and the clothes that you wear. I have probably about five polo collared shirts that I love to wear. I have a favorite pair of shorts, jeans, and dress pants. But, this only makes up a small fraction of my closet I’m ashamed to say. I wear 20% of my clothes 80% of the time.
Pareto Principle At Your Job
The same can be said for my work as well. I have 100 subordinates and ten of them are my problem children. I’m sure that teachers see this principle in their lives as well. I spend 80% of my time doing 20% of the total tasks that make up my career and life. The exact details of an 80/20 ratio are inconsequential. It may not hold exactly true in all cases, but I would think that you would find it true in most cases. Most of the benefits in your life come from roughly 20% of your work. The most important aspect of this principle is realizing it, acknowledging it, and finding ways to benefit from it.
Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff
I have a direct subordinate that reports to me who sweats the small stuff and is very visible about it. I have come to realize that my own boss focuses on just a few key ingredients or subtasks of my job. If I spend 80% of my energy knocking that 20% of the job out of the park, I let other less important aspects of the job fall by the wayside. Not that I would advocate working less hard in any way, but I would recommend an employee focusing a lot of energy on what the boss deemed important. Focus on the 20% and do not get so worked up over the 80% that does not matter as much.
There are ample times in your career when you can and should work hard. There are also plenty of times when you need to work smarter in order to get ahead at your workplace or in your industry. Use the Pareto Principle to hone your energy and direct focus.