What is 80/20 principle?

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What is the 80/20 Rule and could it actually make 80% of your work disappear?

If you’ve studied economics or business as your major subject then you must be familiar to Pareto’s 80/20 principle, which likely say that 20% of things cover 80% of market.

“The 80/20 principle is one of the great secrets of highly effective people and organizations.”

The Man behind the Concept

Vilfredo Federico Damaso Pareto who was born in Italy in 1848. He would go on to become an important philosopher and economist. This legend once noticed that 20% of his pea’s plant would usually provide him with 80% of the result product, the vegetable. This observation made him to think about uneven manner of distribution, he later found out that this weird distribution was not just limited to his garden. He thought of researching about the wealth and discovered that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by just 20% of the population. He also found that 20% of the populations holds up 80% of the money.

Image Credit to The View Inside Me

He therefore concluded that 80% of the results come from 20% of our actions.

Pareto’s 80/20 Rule

This rule was a “universal truth” about the imbalance of inputs and outputs and about the uneven distribution, which later was called Pareto’s 80/20 Rule, or the 80/20 rule. While it doesn’t always come to be an exact 80/20 ratio, this imbalance is often seen in various business cases:

  • 20% of the sales representative generates 80% of total sales of the company.
  • 20% of the company’s product result to 80% of the total sales.
  • 20% of the most reported software bugs cause 80% of software crashes.
  • 20% of people hold 80% of the money.
  • We wear 20% of our dresses 80% of time.

On a more personal note, you might be able to relate to my unintentional 80/20 habits.

If I own at least five amazing denims, but 80% of the time or more I would wear my most comfortable and the best fitting blue jeans. (Ladies, how many shoes do you own, and how often do you grab the same 20 %?)

Suppose if I have 10 rooms in my house, but I spend about 80% of my time in just my bedroom, drawing room, family room, and office (exactly 20%).