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Updated 16 Oct 2019


The benefits of living (and practicing) the 80/20 way

Whether it is in our personal lives or in business, we may find that very often our energy and success are usually split 80/20 according to Pareto’s law. 


Karolina Sky Rafalski, 14 February 2017  Share  0 comments  Print


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It has been named the law of the vital few, or the 80/20 rule, it states that for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. Pareto showed that approximately 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population.

But what exactly is 80/20? 

Over the years, the principle has been applied across various areas of expertise, from economics to business and personal life. Today people are becoming more aware of it and realise that its effects are felt all around us.

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For example, 80% of your sales may come from 20% of your clients or you may only wear 20% of your wardrobe 80% of the time. You probably only phone 20% of your contacts 80% of the time. The crux of the law is that 80% of results come from 20% of total input. 

Work smart and live smart 

The value of the Pareto Principle in the work place is it can help us stay focused on the ‘20% that matters’. Of all the tasks performed throughout the day, one could say (based on Pareto’s Principle) that only 20% really matter. Those tasks in the 20% may more than likely produce 80% of your results. Therefore, it is key for us to firstly identify those tasks and secondly stay focused on the tasks that truly matter. 

Do the same in your personal life; put more effort into the elements that give you the best results. Focus on your passions and skills, the things that matter, nurture the things you care for the most, but don’t waste time on people or things that will hardly have a positive impact on and in your life. By prioritising your time to the people, tasks and things that matter, you will be more focused, save time and get the results you were dreaming of. 

Related: 9 Steps you can take to master the art of time management


The key to mastering the 80/20 rules:

It’s not only important to do things right, but also to ensure you’re doing the right things.  We can use Pareto's Principle as a reminder to us to stay focused on investing 80 percent of our time and energy on the 20 percent of work that’s really important.  But remember it’s not only important to “work hard” and “work smart”, but it’s also important to make sure you work smart on the right things.

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About the author


Karolina Sky Rafalski

Karolina Sky Rafalski Motivational and Keynote speaker, Businesswoman, Miss SA top 5 finalist, mother, entrepreneur, communications and psychology professional. With a BA Corporate Communications Degree, an honours degree in Psychology and a specialised postgraduate degree in BPsych Psychometrics Karolina has uniquely married these two diverse fields of study. Combined with her public profile platform, experience as a model in image and creating your own brand, communication, PR and public speaking skills, and expert knowledge in the field of psychology, she is able to motivate, inspire and create self awareness in the business sector and to individuals.

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