Here’s a Little Exercise to Help You Work Smarter

Understand Pareto’s Principle and Use the 80/20 Rule to Boost Your Efforts


Business-management consultant and engineer Joseph M. Juran named his productivity theory for Vilfredo Pareto: 80 percent of our results are from 20 percent of our efforts. Juran called it the vital few 80/20 Ruleand the useful many.


Pareto’s research showed 20 percent of the people owned 80 percent of the land. An economist by trade, Pareto also transferred such observations to crop production, noting that 20 percent of his garden’s pea plants produced 80 percent of the peas.


Let’s use this to plan for tomorrow by thinking about yesterday. Use the space below to write down at least 10 things you did yesterday:

  1. ­­­­­­­­­­­­­________________________________ 6. ________________________________
  2. ________________________________ 7. ________________________________
  3. ________________________________ 8. ________________________________
  4. ________________________________ 9. ________________________________
  5. ________________________________ 10. ________________________________


Look at the list above. According to the 80/20 rule, two of the things you did probably produced significant results.

  • prioritizing at workPlease circle the two that were most effective
  • Draw a line through one item you could eliminate or reduce


The Power of One-minute Focus to Start Your Day Right

Consider whether there is an activity from your list you could repeat, expand upon or do more of using one minute eliminated from a less effective item. What results could you expect from an extra minute directed toward an item that would make you more effective?

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