What is the Pareto principle of time management and why you shouldn’t apply it


We’ve all heard of the Pareto Principle. In brief, it goes like this: “20% of effort yields 80% of the result, and the other 80% of effort yields only 20% of the result.” Of course, specific numbers are just an abstraction and the ratio can be anything, but this rule tells us that the best result gives only a small fraction of your time.

However, some people perceive this rule, I would even call it just an amusing observation from life. The damage can be especially serious if you apply this principle to your life rather than your business.

Why is the Pareto rule wrong?

No, in general Pareto principle is right, indeed, most of the result provides a smaller number of factors. However, for many people the 80/20 rule has become a guide to life that they take too literally.

In a sense, it sounds like “Forget the things that get you less results, focus on the 20% of the things that get you 80% of the results. This is the wrong approach and can ruin your life, especially if you want to apply the Pareto principle in managing your time.

The reason is simple, very often the remaining 80% of the actions are the background for the 20% that will give you results, so when you try to “optimize your time” and get rid of everything unnecessary, you just risk at some point to deprive yourself and ruin your life.

Basically, the Pareto Principle doesn’t tell you anything, it’s more just interesting information that you need to know. However, trying to redesign your life in order to “maximize 20% of useful actions” isn’t a good idea.


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