The Pareto Principle and its implication to Time-management

Quote of the day: “challenge your assumptions change your world”


That is exactly what I did with respect to my time-management skills. I used to think that my time-management skills couldn’t get any better until I came across a mathematical concept called the Pareto Principle. I have come across this concept before but I did not think much of it. However, it dawned on me one day to realise how powerful and applicable this principle is. Therefore, I decided to write an article about it.


So what is the Pareto Principle exactly?


The pareto principle is known as the 80/20 rule, the law of the vital few, or the principle of factor sparsity which states that for many events, roughly 80 % of the effects comes from 20 % of the causes. In business management for example, it says that “80% of sales comes from 20 % of clients”. The power of “Ctrl + c” ( on Wikipedia) and “Ctrl + v ” ;-) 


How do I apply the Pareto Principle to my time-management system?


As I have previously detailed here: time-management-system my time-management comprised of setting up systems rather than goals. The benefits of this was essentially to test whether I was moving towards my goals.


I observed one major issue with my time-management system: my plans and actions were never strategically given much thought.


The way I address this with the Pareto principle is to identify tasks within my plans that effectively have a higher yield to my goals. These tasks are then integrated with my time-management system.


Let’s say for example, I have a goal to improve my writings. With my time-management system without the Pareto principle extension, I would dedicate 25 min every day just writing about anything. Though, in the long run this guarantees improvement, but with the Pareto principle that improvement can be reached sooner than expected. The reasons are that I would primarily decide to tackle the things that are at the core of good writing skills and then allocate some time during the day to improve it.


 In conclusion, the Pareto principle dictates which tasks I should set carry on first in order to be closer to my goals, while the system settings rather than goal sets up a system that ensures that I am turning my tasks into actionable plan which are testable