A Comprehensive Guide to Pareto Principle in Time Management in 2021
20 percent of what we do, affects the remaining 80 percent of our actions and deliverables in life; so sayeth the Pareto principle. Here's what experts think.
Join the DZone community and get the full member experience.Join For Free
In a broader management theory, there is a very important rule known as the 80-20 rule, or the Pareto principle. It states that in the organizational paradigm or any business as a whole, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.
It means that there is an uneven distribution which can be found in many different business and life decisions that are taken by the people in their personal and professional lives.
Some practical examples of this Pareto principle can be:
- 80% of the profits that a business earns come from 20% of the products or services that they provide
- Fixing the top 20% of the bugs in software that are reported by the quality assurance team also reduce or eliminate the other 80% of the related crashes and bugs
- 80% of the sales that are performed by a business come from 20% of the clients that are connected to your business
- 80% of the decisions that are made by the company in any business interaction or a designated meeting, come from 20% of the time of the whole collaboration
- You wearing 20% of the clothes that are in your wardrobe almost 80% of the time
This principle also has a very important place in the overall time management strategy of a business.
This time management influence of the Pareto principle states that more than 80% of the results that the company generates, come from 20% of the effort that their resources put in their work to generate more business.
Regarding the success of the organization and the Pareto Principle, there is a helpful quote that can help you understand the importance of this principle even more. It is:
“The uneven distribution of tasks you do every day: 20% of your tasks contribute to about 80% of the total success in your organization.”
Let’s take a look at how the Pareto principle embedded in time management can actually help us to prioritize the tasks that we perform on a regular basis.
Pareto Principle’s Time Management and Task Prioritization
Setting task priority in nTask
This principle is an extremely useful tool for us because it can help us to see the bigger picture and helps up to focus on the activities that can make sure that we are on the fastest track to all sorts of advancements in our business life.
Furthermore, this principle helps us to generate a real representation of how, in the organizational paradigm or in businesses in general, unevenly the impact of different factors related to the business can be distributed.
And in addition to that, this principle constantly guides us to focus on the most important tasks that can generate the best results.
Let’s see some examples that can help you to understand this concept more.
- If you feel that your boss is being appreciative of more than 20% of the work that you are inputting into progressing the business further, that, in their view, is more important than anything else, then you need to make sure that you focus on that 20% work than anything else
- If you think that more than 80% of the sales that your business products or services come from the top 20% of the clients that you have around the world, then you need to make sure that you take care of those clients or attract more clients like them to generate more value
- If there are weak links in your project development team that are responsible for offenses like coworker interruptions, instant messaging abuse, or some other gossiping procrastination, then you need to make sure that you eliminate them from the team ASAP
And if you think that you and your team have too many meetings to discuss the activities of the day of the week, you can use the Pareto principle to shorten those meetings by 80%.
These meetings will strictly focus on decision-making and the main agenda of the company, but you need to make sure that this short meeting works in your favor and not against you.
Let’s take a look at how the Pareto principle can help make sure that we set the right priorities for our business and not waste our time on something useless.
Pareto Principle and Decision Making
We all know that any unimportant and smaller tasks that are not going to help us generate any REAL value towards the company, always get in the way of us doing the really important tasks that are going to secure the business’s interests for the future.
Also, these are the tasks that always have the deepest impact on the careers of the people working for the company or on the overall business processes that are taking place on a daily basis.
You also need to note that the impactful activities that we perform as a business are much harder to perform than the un-impactful tasks. That is why, most of us, are drawn to the easier tasks in the roster because they are much easier to execute but without any real result.
Let’s take a few examples into consideration.
- You may have noticed that of all of the different methods that can generate new ideas for projects that the company should do, brainstorming is the most popular method in comparison to meetings or some other tactics, simply because it is the easiest
- It is also noted that answering emails, answering phone calls, internet messaging, using social media, or indulging in some other distractions, is much easier than actually perform deep work activities that are going to generate some promising results for the company
- Another item on the list can be a polished presentation about the services or the product, which is easier to create rather than 20 different sales calls to people that can generate more value towards your sales or the overall company
If we put it in simple terms, it is very hard to make sure that the hard tasks on the project management task list are finished on priority than the tasks that are in the lower bracket of that list with smaller or menial importance.
Let’s take a look at those top 20% of tasks that are going to generate a lot of value for your business or the overall company.
Those '20%' Tasks
As you know, that the most important thing in a business of a company of any kind is to make sure that its resources or the tasks that are performed by them are creating more and more value for the company.
So, when we discuss the most impactful tasks that are present in the company’s roster, they are always judged on the basis of how much value they are creating, how much value they are delivering, and how much of that value are they capturing for the customers connected to the company.
Being a part of the company, you can always be a part of any of these operations that are connected to these tasks directly, by being a part of the research and development departments or sales, etc., or you can be a part of this whole mixture indirectly.
You need to make sure that 80% of the total time that you put in your work is spent solely on the most important tasks in the project development process task list.
And to enforce this attention, you should always have a brief list of KPI’s that will make sure that you measure and focus your work on those important tasks.
Let’s take a look at all of the things that are included in creating, delivering, and capturing values.
1. Creating Values
This includes creating new values, strategically planning for new values, innovative products, and value propositions for the company to propel further, engaging different resources from the resource pool, and forming different strategic partnerships for the betterment of the company.
2. Capturing Values
This includes many different activities like forming different business models to generate more business for the company, optimizing the costs of all of the elements associated with the projects so that the team has all of the resources that it needs, and also finding better interest rates for debt financing.
3. Delivering Values
This includes activities like optimizing different distribution channels for the company to sell their products and services better, forming different customer relationships, marketing products, sales, and other services that the company has to offer to its clientele.
Tasks to Avoid
Here are some of the tasks that are less important and which you need to avoid are as follows:
- All of the urgent tasks that are not useful for generating more value for the company.
- Tasks that you and your team are not fully equipped to do.
- Tasks that get you and your team out of your comfort zones.
- Typical time-wasting activities like meetings and gossiping about stuff that is not important towards generating value to the company.
This was our guide on the Pareto principle and how it helps in prioritizing your project development tasks by using time management. If you think that we didn’t mention anything important in the article, then, and we will check it out ASAP.
Published at DZone with permission of Fred Wilson, DZone MVB. See the original article here.
Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.