The Pareto Principle – 80 20 Rule Easy Explanation

Have you ever been interested in becoming more productive or managing your time better? Then you’ve most likely come across the Pareto Principle before, also known as the 80/20 rule.

“The Pareto principle states that in any situation, 20 percent of the inputs or activities are responsible for 80 percent of the outputs or results.”

Brielf History of the theory

The principal was named after an Italian economist,
Vilfredo Pareto. He first observed this law in his garden. What he noticed was that 20% of the pea pods generated 80% of the healthy peas.

This observation led him to discover that
80% of the land in Italy was owned by just 20% of the population.

And we can even see this concept everywhere in our daily lives.

 Examples –

  • You wear 20% of your clothes 80% of the time

  • In a book, 20% of its pages contain 80% of the most important information

  • 20% of the company’s customers, produce 80% of the company’s revenue

  • When it comes to YouTube, 20% percent of videos generate 80% of my views and subscribers.

Inverse of the theory

The Pareto principle shows up over and over again, in almost every field.But the inverse is also true.
That means that the other 80% is only generating 20% of the results.

However, you should note that this is not a universal law, and it can differ in many situations.
It’s not always going to be 80/20, it could be 70/30, 90/10, basically anything.

“The point is that the majority of results come from a minority of causes..”

“And the minority of results come from the majority of causes..”

How to apply the Pareto rule?

(1) Reading a Book -

If we go back to our previous example, we said that 20% of a book will give us 80% of the information.
That means that 80% of a book will only give us 20% of its value.

Let’s say it takes you 10 hours to read 100% of that book.

By applying the Pareto principle you know that 80% of the most important information can be found in just 2 hours.

Yes, you could go deeper and learn more in-depth if you wanted to, but note that you will most likely have to spend 8 hours to get that extra 20 % of the information. It’s up to you to decide if you think it’s worth it.

(2) Friends and Relationships -

You can even do a Pareto analysis on your friendships.
What you’re most likely to find is that 20% of the friends, give you 80% of your fulfillmentand joy, that you get from social interactions.

The other 80% of your so called “friends” are only giving you 20% fulfillment.
Now you don’t have to cut away those friendships completely, but you don’t have to spend an equal amount of time with all your companions.

It’s much better to have a few close friends,than to have a bunch of really distant friends.This is why you should spend more time on the 20% that give you the most satisfaction, and commit less time to the other 80%.


If you can identify the 20% that produces the greatest outcome, you can spend more time doing that, to create an even greater pay-off.It also helps you cut back on the 80% of things that waste your time, which creates only 20% of the results.
It encourages you to think efficiently and focus on what is actually important.

So think about what are some of the things that you could double down on, and which ones you should eliminate.

Let me know how are you going to use the 80/20 rule in the comments below.


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