If being more productive is something you’re aiming to do more of this year, here’s a secret rule that successful entrepreneurs swear by to ensure they get more done in a day.

Conceptualised by Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, the 80/20 rule is commonly used by business owners and entrepreneurs for time management.

Following this rule, it is said that 20 per cent of your activities will account for 80 per cent of your results. 20 per cent of your tasks will be responsible for 80 per cent of the value you produce.

This means that if you have a long list of ten tasks to complete, you should choose to complete the two tasks that will bring you the most value first. Don’t simply start by doing the two most easiest tasks first as they might not reap the most in terms of results or benefits.

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How To Use The 80/20 Rule For Increased Productivity In The Work Place:

1. Start With The Task That Produces The Greatest Results

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Some of us have a to-do list and we enjoy striking off the tasks done.

However, this has caused us to selectively choose to complete the easier tasks first — which might not be the most important thing you need to do and in turn, yield very little results.

To get the most of your time, focus on prioritising the biggest task on your list first so that you get the most important things done at the start of the day.

2. Use The 80/20 Rule To Understand A Process Or Concept Better

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In line with this rule, you essentially need to understand the basic objectives of the process or concept in order to execute the task at hand.

A great example highlighted by Quora user Djebali Ahmed is how you can use the rule to learn a language like English. In his example, Djebali explains how learning the 100 most commonly written words in English instead of focusing on the likes of grammar and vocabulary could help one increase their learning capabilities and strengthen their grip on the language.

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3. Use It To Create More Time For Yourself

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A lot of the times, we’re pressured into meetings, coffee sessions or dinners with friends and colleagues and it undoubtedly takes up a lot of time in our busy schedules.

Instead, the 80/20 rule suggests that we try to identify the importance of certain appointments and whether or not we’re able to opt out of attending meetings and appointments in favour of spending quality time alone or working on passion projects that could lead to overall happiness.


moneykinetics-logo-1This article first appeared as Using The 80/20 Rule To Achieve Success — The Pareto Principle That Will Change Your Life on Money Kinetics: Singapore’s definitive guide to financial literacy. Money Kinetics helps Singaporeans compare and evaluate loans, deals, cards and guide them to make their money work for them.

The article has been edited for concision and style with the permission of Money Kinetics.