The dummies guide to the Pareto Principle (80/20 rule) | Thriday (2024)

February 20, 2024


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The dummies guide to the Pareto Principle (80/20 rule) | Thriday (1)


Warren More


The Pareto Principle, also known as the 80/20 Rule, is a concept that has become common parlance in offices and startups worldwide. This rule suggests that 80% of effects come from 20% of causes. For example, 80% of a company's revenue may come from 20% of its customers, or 80% of a person's productivity may come from 20% of their work. This principle can be applied to many areas, including productivity for small business owners. This guide will explain how you can utilise it to get more time in your day.

The dummies guide to the Pareto Principle (80/20 rule) | Thriday (2)

Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto first introduced the Pareto Principle in 1895. Vilfredo was researching property ownership, and he discovered that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population. Pareto observed similar patterns in other areas, including wealth distribution and business success. Understanding the Pareto Principle can be highly beneficial for individuals and businesses, as it helps to identify and focus on the most critical areas of work or operation.

One way to use the Pareto Principle to improve productivity for small business owners is to focus on the 20% of tasks that will have the most significant impact. By identifying functions that are most important to the success of your business, you can give them the highest priority. For example, suppose you run a small retail store. In that case, the 20% of tasks that will have the most significant impact include developing a marketing plan, managing inventory, and providing excellent customer service.

Another way to use the Pareto Principle to improve productivity is to identify the 20% of activities that are wasting your time and eliminate them. This means finding the activities that are not contributing to your business goals and either eliminating them or delegating them to someone else. For example, 80% of customer complaints may come from 20% of customers. By identifying and addressing the concerns of these top 20% of customers, a company can improve overall customer satisfaction and retention rates.

How to implement the 80/20 rule

To implement the 80/20 rule, here are some steps you can take:

  • Start by identifying areas where the 80/20 rule can be implemented in your business. This could be in sales, customer service, time management, or personal productivity.
  • Once you have identified the 20% of tasks responsible for 80% of effects, prioritise them. These should be the areas that receive the most attention, resources, and effort.
  • Focus on optimising the 20% of causes to increase their impact. This could involve improving processes, streamlining operations, or investing in new technology or resources.
  • Regularly monitor the impact of the Pareto Principle and adjust accordingly. This could involve identifying new areas where the principle can be applied or refining the areas already in focus.
  • By following these steps, individuals and businesses can implement the Pareto Principle to prioritise the most critical areas of work or operation and increase efficiency, productivity, and success.

Thriday is a fantastic way also to implement the 80/20 rule. Most small businesses will identify that financial admin takes up a good portion of their work week. In fact, most small business owners spend over 6 hours a week on doing the books. With Thriday, you can automate all your banking, accounting and tax so that it only takes 30 minutes a week. You cansign up for Thriday todayto eliminate the time you waste on financial admin.

Pareto Principle FAQs

What is the Pareto Principle?

The Pareto Principle, also known as the 80/20 rule, is a principle that states that roughly 80% of effects come from 20% of causes.

Where did the Pareto Principle come from?

The Pareto Principle is named after Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, who observed in 1906 that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population.

How is the Pareto Principle applied in business?

In business, the Pareto Principle is often used to identify the most profitable products or services, the most valuable customers, and the most important tasks to focus on.

Can the Pareto Principle be applied to personal life?

Yes, the Pareto Principle can be applied to personal life as well. For example, 80% of your happiness may come from 20% of your activities or relationships.

Is the Pareto Principle a universal law?

The Pareto Principle is not a universal law and may not always hold true in every situation. However, it is a valuable heuristic for identifying patterns and trends in data.

By focusing on the 20% of tasks that will have the most significant impact and eliminating the 20% of activities that are wasting your time, small business owners can use the Pareto Principle or 80/20 to improve their productivity and achieve their goals. Let us know how you go about implementing it, and we would love to hear your feedback.

DISCLAIMER: Team Thrive Pty Ltd ABN 15 637 676 496 (Thriday) is an authorised representative (No.1297601) of Regional Australia Bank ABN 21 087 650 360  AFSL 241167 (Regional Australia Bank). Regional Australia Bank is the issuer of the transaction account and debit card available through Thriday. Any information provided by Thriday is general in nature and does not take into account your personal situation. You should consider whether Thriday is appropriate for you.

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The dummies guide to the Pareto Principle (80/20 rule) | Thriday (15)


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The dummies guide to the Pareto Principle (80/20 rule) | Thriday (2024)


What is the 80-20 rule simplified? ›

The 80-20 rule is a principle that states 80% of all outcomes are derived from 20% of causes. It's used to determine the factors (typically, in a business situation) that are most responsible for success and then focus on them to improve results.

What is the 80-20 rule real examples? ›

80% of crimes are committed by 20% of criminals. 80% of sales are from 20% of clients. 80% of project value is achieved with the first 20% of effort. 80% of your knowledge is used 20% of the time.

What is Pareto's law for dummies? ›

This rule suggests that 80% of effects come from 20% of causes.

What is the most productive way to apply the 80-20 rule? ›

Prioritize the first 20% of your workday regarding the tasks you complete and know when it's time to pivot and make changes when working on the remaining 80% to ensure you don't waste too much productive time and energy.

Does the 80-20 rule still apply? ›

This is why the 80-20 rule is usually used in business, but you can also apply it to your personal goals, like finances and spending or even learning a new skill. The 80-20 rule requires you to throw out a few time-honored myths about productivity. First, the myth that everything matters equally – it doesn't.

What are real examples of Pareto principle? ›

So, here are some Pareto 80 20 rule examples:
  • 20% of criminals commit 80% of crimes.
  • 20% of drivers cause 80% of all traffic accidents.
  • 80% of pollution originates from 20% of all factories.
  • 20% of a companies products represent 80% of sales.
  • 20% of employees are responsible for 80% of the results.
Mar 3, 2017

What is an example of the 80-20 rule for productivity? ›

80/20 - How to Increase Your Productivity by Doing Less
  • ~20% of seeds planted result in 80% of the flowers.
  • ~20% of the world has ~80% of the wealth.
  • ~20% of occupational safety hazards lead to ~80% of the injuries.
  • You wear ~20% of your clothes ~80% of the time.

What are the parts of 80-20 rule? ›

The 80-20 rule, also known as the Pareto Principle, used mostly in business and economics, states that 80% of outcomes results from 20% of causes. Pareto analysis states that 80% of a project's results are due to 20% of the work, or conversely, 80% of problems can be traced to 20% of the causes.


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