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24 Nov 2008

Applying the 80-20 Rule

The Pareto principle (also known as the 80-20 rule, the law of the vital few and the principle of factor sparsity) was discovered by Vilfredo Pareto, an Italian economist. The law states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.

Pareto, observed that 80 percent of the land in England (and every country he subsequently studied) was owned by 20 percent of the population. He also noticed that 80% of Italy's wealth was owned by 20% of the population. That's definitely the case in Nigeria as well.

Pareto's theory of predictable imbalance has since been applied to almost every aspect of today life.

The 80/20 rule can help you focus on what is really important in various aspects of your life. I have listed below a few application of the 80/20 rule:

Friendships- 20% of your friends probably give you 80% of the support, care and satisfaction you need. 20% of your relationships give 80% of the value. Learn to recognise people that fall into the 20% and improve those relationships. Those are your true friends.

Relationship/Marriage- In the Tyler Perry's movie, "Why did I get married?" a "version" of this law was referred to with a different twist to it. “In love and/or relationship you get about 80% of what you need from your mate. Sometimes we meet someone who has that other 20% that we are not getting and the 20% looks real good, but if you trade your 80% for that 20%, then you’ll really see how good you had it.

Work- Approximately 20% of your efforts produce 80% of the results. Find your productive time/condition and make the best use of it. Personally, I find that I am more productive in the mornings. By afternoon, my brain begins to work on slow mode. Since I have recognised this, I try to do my 20% in the mornings to achieve maximum results for the day.

Possessions- 20% of what you own is used 80% of the time. We wear 20% of our favorite clothes about 80% of the time. Only a small part of what you own is used often. This might help you to de-clutter the junk in your home. I certainly need this tip!

We all have limited resources, be it our time, money, or attention. So to get the most out of them, it’s important to invest your resources in only the most profitable places.

Note 1: the 80/20 rules are approximates

Note 2: More details on

Note 3: I promised Rita I will do a post on the 80/20 rule based on a post she did, so this one is for you girl :)


    yes o...brb!

  2. so i go to 20% on the blogs on my blog roll...or 80% of blogs have 20% good content in them..Just kidding

    thats a great rule of thumb when u really think about it.
    Hope you are good.

  3. Nolimit- My friend! oya come back here and comment properly LOL

    Femi B- Girl, that totally makes sense...wonder why I didn't think of that, na true talk u talk o ;-)

    Am doing well, thanks. And u?

  4. Interesting insight
    especially about the clothes
    I have so many pairs of shoes but constantly keep wearing the same pair until the heel wears out lol then move on to the next,
    but i definitely aint decluttering!!!!!

  5. Ummmm This is interesting. Could help with my discipline issues.

  6. Hmmn these are words of wisdom...
    didn't even know it had a name when i used the principle to sort out my friends...i found my self majoring in the minor and vice versa...till I decided to do what you advised here...i.e"Learn to recognise people that fall into the 20% and improve those relationships."abi what better deal is there? to get 80% value from 20%...meeen life became sweeter...and I became long thing jo!(lol just had to add that!)

  7. so 20% of my fav bloggers read 80% of my posts?

  8. true talk. i for sure talk t 20% of the people on my phone list 80% of the time..

  9. this thing is true o...ah..aloted babe , thanks o...80/20..80/20...i should incorporate this into my constitution for next year...i hope i dont over do it..thanks, thanks thanks...

  10. MDM- Hehehehe you don't want to declutter your shoes abi?? No shaking

    Temite- I hope it helps :)

    NoLimit- awww she came back. I am glad you have seen the 80/20 rule work in your life even when you didn't know it had a name. Sure helps with getting rid of wrong relationships in our lives

    bumight- My dear, hmm you never
    I also like Femi B's application of the 80/20 rule to blogville

    Reverence- abi o...Na Pareto talk am! :)

    simeone- you are dont think you'll over do it..cuz you will apply wisdom abi? :)

  11. Resolution for 2009 (who am I kidding, I don't do resolutions)
    I hereby from hence forth (LOL) live by the 80%/20% rule.......
    No, seriously this is the best means of simplifing life, I have to give full attention to my 20%'s, love , work, life.

    PS: In business as well, only 20% of your consumers remain loyal to
    your service or product.

    Question: where is Rita?

  12. 20% of the food we eat give us the 80% nourishment we need......

    lol. I saw that Why Did I Get Married movie.

    the rule actually is very correct.
    and its same here in 9ja

  13. Whao! I take it that this law actually means 20% of me will produce 80% of whatever I intend to achieve! Interesting!

  14. ~Sirus~- Living by this rule wont be bad at all. You can start little. I like the business application you pointed out.

    I believe Rita is fine, just a bit busy with work.

    Uzezi- I like this food application o...totally makes sense! :)

    Dee- you mean 20% of your resources abi? We can apply the rule any how :)

  15. yeah i remember that part from Why Did I get Married..i so feel you on the shoes though, but like MDM i aint doing away wiv

  16. O girl, you for dey teach o. You might become a Professor within three years. lol. No disrespect meant, but I'm an Economics student and I remember doing something on Pareto in my second year. I could hardly comprehend the theory then but with the way you have spelt it out, gurl, I'm set for an A+

    I have analysed this over and over in my mind as I read your post and tell you what, you're sooooo right. The 80-20 rule works just for everything. In fact, I spend 80% of my time making money and I only get to spend 20% of it . . . bills, bills and bills and I'm still a young man. This had better not continue or else I'd wake Pareto up to come and rephrase his statement or theory! It seems like a prophecy now and not a theory anymore.

  17. 80,20,80,20,80,20,80,20,80,20, I have to cram that abeg!

  18. Interestin...i ALWAYS learn somn here...u r officially my blog've been tagged by moi btw!

  19. Interestin...i ALWAYS learn somn here...u r officially my blog've been tagged by moi btw!

  20. So much potential hidden inside you. This post has brought out 20% of the 20% of your writing abilities.

    I really enjoyed this post. Good night.

  21. shonaVixen- LOL you and MDM are following your own rule abi..."Ain't decluttering" rule :)

    gbengasile- hmm teaching hey...i know I can break things down but am not sure i have the patience to teach if someone isn't getting
    Your application of the 80/20 rule is on point o...cuz am sure it happens to almost everyone. lol @waking Pareto

    seye- hehehehe crammer! Cram and then apply :)

    buttercup- Awwww..i am flabberwhelmed and overgasted ..and i would love being your blog mentor :)
    Saw the tag o..will get to it soon. Thanks

    Nwa Chi- oh so only 20% is out yet abi..i need to work hard to bring out 80%
    glad you enjoyed the post.

  22. Hmmm, and 20% of the time my mind is in overdrive.

  23. in Nigeria like most African and South central American countries, Pareto's principle doesn't work.
    Its modified!

    Its 90% resources owned by 10% of the people. Lol!

    Nice post!

  24. rethots- I take you mean 20% of the time, 80% of your mind is in overdrive??

    Abujamaiden- LOL. Sure, see note 1. I guess the principle behind the rule is that there is predictable imbalance in life, could be 90/10 like you said, 75/25, 60/40, 50/50 etc

  25. thanks for sharing dear, it's actually true...the friendship one, yep!, marriage, yep...and i noticed i have things i hardly wear in my wardrobe then when i feel like i've neglected them, i go and bring them out..

  26. 'Why did i get married' really put it beautifully!

  27. The 80/20 rule is so true in relationships. Come to think of it, it applies to my wardrobe too. LOL. Thanks for sharing!
    How are you doing dear?

  28. The girl has gone all serious...maybe I should follow in ur steps...

  29. The one about the clothes definitely applies to me...In my cousin's case, its 95/5! 5% of her clothes get worn 95% of the time.

    Good post on parteo's prnciple.

  30. happy new month madam'

  31. i'm using this rule for my is working o

    aloted how body now

  32. I will consciously apply it and see what gives.

  33. Aloted, you know you have no right to now? How are you doing? Where are you? We will become demotivated oh and without purpose...

  34. I am still trying to wrap my head around the 80-20% principle.

    Anyway, how are you?

  35. writefreak- hmm so u've also seen the application in ur life

    FFF- I agree!

    FG- You are welcome. I am fine o...what about you?

    Afrobabe- LOL, but i was all serious before you left...hehehe..are you sure you can follow in my steps?? HMM

    Adedayo Nigeria- you are welcome

    IMHAM- hehehe...i guess clothes wise the principle applies to a number of women.

    Emeka- yes, please come back and share wat you discovered.

    Nwa Chi- Don't mind me o. I am back now. Thanks for checking up. LOL @being demotivated and without purpose

    Solomonsydelle- also took me a while to get round the principle but i tried my best to break it down in my post.

    I am alright. Thanks for asking :)

  36. Thank you for keeping to your words. I learnt a great deal from this post. Infact, when anything bothers me I ask "Is it because of 20% that I want to give up 80%?"

  37. Rita- you are welcome dearie.. and i like this question you ask yourself now, might adapt it :)

  38. Very interesting. I've heard about the 80/20rule in the past but never really understood it till u explained it makes sense!

  39. 80/20 rule?
    The Tyler Perry movie on it was even more.


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