How to apply the 80/20 time-management principle for more productivity

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One of the best ways to increase your productivity is to apply the 80/20 time-management principle to save your time and prioritize the most critical tasks.

In this article, you’ll learn about the 80/20 time-management principle and how you can use it to perform more efficiently and be more productive when doing your daily tasks.

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The Pareto principle

The 80/20 time-management principle, also known as the Pareto principle, was named after the Italian economist, sociologist, and civil engineer Vilfredo Pareto who was the first to identify this principle after observing the pea pods in his garden.

He noticed that 20% of the pea pods produced 80% of his peas. This observation was extended later on to the distribution of wealth in Italy, where he noticed that 80% of the wealth belonged to just 20% of the population.

Thereafter the patterns started to be seen everywhere around him in many different situations.

The 80/20 principle suggests that 80% of results come from 20% of the effort. In other words, you can get 80% of the results you want with only 20% of the effort.

This principle can be applied to any area of your life, but it’s mostly useful for organizing your time and being more productive and efficient at work.

The Pareto principle is also called the 80/20 rule, the law of the vital few, or the principle of factor sparsity.

Richard Koch has written an entire book about the 80/20 principle where he explains thoroughly how we can use it in every aspect of our lives.

How does the 80/20 time-management principle work

How to apply the 80/20 Time management principle productivity

First, let’s clarify something; this is not a mathematical law. It’s a precept. And the ratio can change depending on the situation. Maybe 5% of your efforts can give you 95% of the results.

The point is that some actions can give significantly more results than other actions given the same amount of time.

The way that you can make use of this principle is to find the small things that will give you the biggest results.

What you need to do is identify the most valuable assets and resources that you’ve got and make the most of them in order to maximize value.

The 80/20 rule is not about working less; rather, it is about working smarter and prioritizing the right things in order to generate better results.

The truth is that we all tend to occupy most of our time with unimportant tasks because they usually don’t require much physical or mental effort. And that’s what makes most of our efforts (80% of them) produce the least results (20%).

If we let insignificant tasks hijack our time, we will end up working much harder for very little outcome. Relying on a false sensation of accomplishment that a busy schedule could give us.

Instead, we could focus on the few activities that really matter and that will eventually bring us the majority of the results. And that’s what the 80/20 rule is all about!

Use the 80/20 time-management principle to prioritize your tasks

People sometimes work for hours or even days. But when they look back, trying to evaluate the progress, they find out that all that work didn’t bring them any closer to their goals. I do that sometimes! And I think many of you guys do that too. Don’t you?

Having a busy schedule can give us a false sense of satisfaction, even if everything on that schedule is of very little value and doesn’t help in a significant way to achieve our goals.

This is where prioritizing can make a difference. And the best way to do it is by using the 80/20 rule.

These little steps can help you do that:

  • Start by writing every task that you have on your to-do list.
  • Identify the 20% of the tasks that bring you the majority of results.
  • Concentrate all of your energy and time on those tasks.
  • As for the other tasks, delegate if you can, or eliminate them without much thought.

This way you’ll get closer to your goals way faster than you could’ve done it spreading your efforts on all the activities on your to-do list.

Use the 80/20 time-management principle to save your time

How to apply the 80/20 Time management principle for more productivity - to save time

Having the time to do the things that you love in life instead of spending it all on work is what everybody wants.

So what you need to ask yourself is: am I spending time on what really matters or am I wasting my precious time on insignificant things?

When you start an activity always determine if it’s in the top 20% of your most valuable tasks or in the other 80% that won’t bring as much value as the first 20%.

By implementing the Pareto principle, you can actually do more in less time. You can learn to focus on the activities that will have the biggest impact on your life and, therefore, use your time more wisely and more efficiently.

When you focus on that 20% of activities that produce 80% of the results, you will boost your productivity and reduce your working time.

Related article: 13 Easy Habits To Increase Productivity


The Pareto principle, or the 80/20 rule, is one of the best time-management techniques that will boost your productivity and make you work more efficiently.

Sometimes people can seem busy all day long but don’t accomplish much. That’s because they work on tasks that are of low value. They waste time clearing up small things and end up procrastinating on the most important ones.

The 80/20 principle will encourage you to focus on what really matters, to dedicate your most productive time of the day to the top 20% of tasks that will eventually bring you the majority of results.

This will help you use your time more efficiently and get more done in less time.

The 80/20 principle can also be applied to your daily routine.

Will you try this method? Tell me in the comment section.

Don’t forget to share this article. It may help someone else.

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Ghada, Founder of PsychEducated. Ph.D. in school psychology. Teacher of French and Spanish. Wife and mother of two little ones.
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