What is the basic idea of the 80-20 rule?

First of all, what is it, let me go to the idea behind What is the basic idea of the 80-20 rule?

The Pareto principle, sometimes known as the 80–20 rule, is a famous adage stating that, for every event, 20% of all causes (or inputs) are responsible for 80% of the outcomes.

The goal of the 80-20 rule in business is to prioritize and find those inputs that have the potential to be most productive. For example, once such factors have been identified, managers should focus most of their attention on those aspects that are important for the growth of their organization.

The 80-20 rule can be applied to any field, even though it is most commonly applied in business and economics. The 80-20 rule can be applied to personal economics, wealth distribution, spending patterns, and even adultery in intimate relationships.

Overview of the 80-20 Rule

  • Secures 80% of results from 20% of sources.
  • Focuses on 20% criteria for optimal results.
  • Principle: Choose the best assets to create the most value.
  • No strict mathematical rules; Prioritizing 20% may lead to ignoring 80%.

1-Unequal Distribution: Most goods in life are not distributed equally, as accepted by the Pareto principle. Rather, a small percentage often makes a disproportionately large contribution to the result.

It specifically says that about 20% of the causes are responsible for 80% of the effects. This unbalanced distribution draws attention to how important a select few things are.

Origin and Name: Vilfredo Pareto, a late 19th-century Italian economist, is credited with naming the concept when he observed a uniform pattern in the distribution of wealth across societies.

Pareto found that just 20% of Italy’s population owned 80% of the country’s wealth. Later, he discovered comparable disparities in other settings, such as land ownership and even in his garden, where 20% of the pea pods produced 80% of the peas.

2-Application: The Pareto principle advises us to focus on the essential 20% or the small number of inputs or actions that result in the greatest impact.

Finding these high-impact areas will help us focus our efforts more effectively and produce greater results with less effort overall.

Examples of applications include the following: In a business, 20% of consumers may account for 80% of sales.

When it comes to time management, setting priorities for important tasks pays off.

In relationships, developing deep connections is more important than getting to know each other.

3-Notes of caution: Although the Pareto principle is a useful tool, it should be applied sparingly.

Avoid fleeting benefits at the expense of stability over time. If you focus too much on the 20%, you may overlook other important factors.

When used appropriately, the theory helps in resource allocation, improving efficiency and priority setting.

 How does it work

The 80-20 rule can be considered direct cause and effect: 20% of the causes (inputs) provide 80% of the results (outputs). This rule is often applied to highlight the fact that 20% of a company’s customers account for 80% of its revenue.

Viewed this way, a business may find it beneficial to target its marketing to the 20% of customers who account for 80% of its sales. By doing this, the business may be able to retain those customers as well as attract new ones who share their qualities. But there is more to the 80-20 rule than meets the eye.

Core principle:

The basic idea of the 80-20 rule is to identify the best assets of an entity and use them effectively to maximize value. For example, a student should prioritize studying the sections of the textbook that will help them the most for an upcoming exam. However, this does not mean that the learner should ignore the remaining sections of the textbook.


Many people may be unaware that the 80/20 rule is a concept rather than an inflexible mathematical rule. Also, the percentages do not need to add up to 100%. Put, input and output represent different units. The sum of the percentages of these units does not have to be 100%. What matters is the idea that underlies the regulation.

The 80-20 rule has been misinterpreted in another way. Specifically, the idea is that if 20% of the inputs are important, the remaining 80% should not be. This is an error in logic. Even if a decision has been made to give priority to 20%, 80% may still be important.

The background of the 80-20 rule:

The Pareto principle, sometimes known as the 80-20 rule, is used in Pareto analysis. It was first used in macroeconomics to describe Italian wealth distribution in the early 20th century. Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, known for his theories on Pareto efficiency, first presented it in 1906.

Pareto found in his garden that 20% of the pea pods produced 80% of the peas. By demonstrating that 20% of the Italian population owned 80% of the country’s wealth, Pareto extended this idea to the field of macroeconomics.

Dr. Joseph Juran, a renowned expert on operations management, used the 80-20 rule to improve quality control in commercial manufacturing in the 1940s.

He proved that 20% of manufacturing process flaws are responsible for 80% of product errors. A company can increase its general efficiency of production by focusing on 20% of production issues and eliminating them. This is what Juran calls “the important few and the insignificant many.”

Benefits of the 80-20 Rule

The 80-20 rule is essentially valid, if not mathematically correct, based on a wealth of anecdotal data, despite the lack of scientific investigation supporting or refuting its validity.

The performance of salespeople in various industries has shown that applying the 80-20 rule can be successful. Additionally, outside consultants have successfully used the 80-20 rule in their operations when using Six Sigma and other management techniques.

You can pinpoint the activities that will bring you the best success and determine the root causes of problems or stagnation using the 80/20 rule.

Using the 80/20 guideline in both your personal and business life will have the following additional benefits:

  • increase in production
  • good leadership
  • improved self-assurance
  • increase resource efficiency
  • Improve problem-solving ability
  • Increase in decision-making ability

Example of the 80-20 Rule

Consider your life also. You’ll realize it, I’ll bet:

80% of the problems at work are caused by 20% of your coworkers.

Eighty percent of the organization’s income is generated by twenty percent of staff fundraisers.

Plus, in your office, 20% of the carpet is used 80% of the time!

   Thus, keep the Pareto principle in mind when ending 2016 and making plans for 2017. Then contact us, because we do essentially just that.

Apply the 80-20 Rule

How can I apply this rule to my daily life? 

Absolutely! Using the 80-20 rule in your daily activities will help you achieve more productive and efficient results. Here are some realistic ways to put this into practice:

  • Sort tasks by priority:
    • Determine which of your tasks are most important and have the biggest impact on your objectives. Prioritize these tasks because they will have the greatest impact. Eighty percent of jobs can wait or be assigned.
  • Time Management:
    • Check your daily activities. Generally, 80% of results come from 20% of your efforts. Spend less time on things that aren’t as productive and more time on things that have a greater impact.
  • Work Productivity:
    • Pay attention to important details while working on projects or at work. For example:
  • Customer Management:
    • Pay special attention to the 20% of customers who provide the most revenue.
  • Project Tasks:
    • Set aside time for tasks that will directly affect the outcome of the project.
    • Attend meetings only when they are necessary; Avoid less important things.
  • Fitness and Health:
    • Exercise: Instead of wasting hours on ineffective routines, choose workouts that provide the most benefits (e.g. compound exercises).
    • Nutrition: Give your body the efficient fuel it needs by focusing on nutrient-rich foods.
  • Relationship:
    • Social circle: Develop relationships with the people who matter most in your life.
    • Spending time with loved ones is more important than spending time with a large number of acquaintances.
  • Organization and disorganization:
    • Physical space: Use guidelines for keeping your living or work area clean. Save what’s important and throw away the rest.
    • Digital Files: Organize your digital files by deleting unnecessary files and focusing on important files.
    • Reading: Read books, articles, or courses that support your goals to learn and improve yourself.
    • Develop your skills by investing time in acquiring knowledge that will greatly improve your abilities.

Remember that the 80-20 rule is just a guideline, not a hard and fast rule. Tailor it to your preferences and specific situation. If you do this, you’ll accomplish more with less effort.


Absolutely! Let’s check out the results after applying the 80-20 rule in different areas of your life:

  • Task Prioritization: 
    • 80%: Determine which 20% of your tasks are most important to achieving your objectives or achieving the results you want.
    • 20%: These should be the first things you work on because they require your full concentration. Assign or eliminate the remaining eighty percent of less important duties.
  • Time Management: 
    • 80%: Check your daily activities. Typically, 80% of results come from 20% of actions.
    • 20%: Spend less time on unproductive activities (like mindlessly browsing social media) and more time on high-impact activities (like skill development and strategic planning).
  • Work Productivity:
    • 80%: Focus on the most important components of your assignments or tasks.
    • 20%: Give jobs that directly impact a project’s success or revenue generation top priority. 
      • Eliminate or simplify low-impact tasks.
  • Health & Fitness
    • 80%: Get the most out of your daily routine.
    • 20%: Focus on a nutrient-rich diet and choose workouts that provide the most benefits (e.g. compound movements).
  • Relationships
    • 80%: Develop deep and meaningful relationships.
    • 20%: Prioritize deep relationships over superficial encounters by spending quality time with loved ones.
  • Organizing and disorganizing:
    • 80%: Make your digital and physical spaces more organized.
    • 20%: Save what matters; Throw away any unnecessary paper or items.
  • Education and Personal Development:
    • 80%: Dedicate time to learning with a big impact.
    • 20%: Read relevant literature, enroll in classes, and acquire skills that will significantly improve your abilities.

For now, I hope this article has helped you understand What is the basic idea of the 80-20 rule and how it can be done.

Have you ever wondered how Adidas founder Adolf Dassler made his fortune from one idea Check out The Untold Story of Adolf Dassler’s Creative Legacy, plus more in my Startup section.