The Time Management Skill You Will Always Need: 80/20 – The Pareto Principle

“The danger is not that you will miss the target. The danger is that you will hit the wrong one.”


Vilfredo Pareto was an Italian economist who observed that 80 percent of the land in Italy was owned by 20 percent of the population. He made several similar observations in his work.

In 1937, Joseph M. Juran, a quality-control expert, found that this observation could revolutionize time management. More recently, Tim Ferriss made the Pareto Principle famous in his book the 4 Hour Work Week. Ferriss explains that almost always 20% of your actions will create 80% of your desired results. So, essentially almost 80% of your time is wasted time, by eliminating this wasted time we can become not only more productive, but more profitable, and live the kind of lifestyle we really want.

pareto principle

The Pareto Principle, or 80/20 principle shows how most results are designed for efficiency. For example, most people spend 80 percent of their money on 20 percent of their bills, most spend 80 percent of their daily time doing 20 percent of the activities. In business, most spend 80% of their time on work that brings in only 20% of the income. Less work really can create more revenue and time.

Tim Ferriss talks about the Pareto Principle (80/20 Principle):


But Why?

Get Life Under Control

Most people work on auto-pilot and never use any time management tools. If your actions form the map of where you’re going in life, will you feed them the wrong directions? In other words, your strategy is important, but the way you implement that strategy is more important. You must learn how to manage time.

This is why elimination of the 80% is necessary. 

The Power of Less

People often try to do many things at once. Instead, you should channelize your energy like a sharp laser, burning all obstacles that come your way. None of your time management tools will work without this simple realization.

More sucks your power. Less makes you powerful. 

You must eliminate the non-essentials. The non-essentials in your everyday activities, room objects, wardrobe and so on. This is one of the best time management skills you’ll ever build.

How to Do It


The Pareto Principle, or 80/20 principle can be applied by anyone. If you’re an entrepreneur and work 12-plus hours a day doing $500 per hour stuff, then does it make sense to spend 2 hours a day reading your email? You can hire $15 an hour assistant to do that sort of stuff.

Acquire New Skills

Let’s say you’re in your twenties and you work 12-hour days doing overtime for more money. You might want that money to go to bars every weekend. But if you spend the extra couple hours on upgrading your skills instead of overtime, you could get a higher paying job, earn the same amount of money in 8 hours and still go to the bars. Just by using your crazy time management skills!

Bonus Tip: Implement the 80/20 principle for your long-term goals and see which activities produce the most results. 

One More Thing

The Turtleneck

You might have already come across many such examples in your life. Efficiency is the reason why Steve Jobs wore the same kind of clothes everyday. Because it gave him more mental bandwidth to use on high-level pursuits like designing iPhones and creating his “one more thing”. 

Because no matter how much you accomplish, there’s always room for one more thing. That’s how human beings are. We crave progress. And in order to do that you must know how to manage time. 

So, what can you eliminate that is taking up MOST of your time for LITTLE reward?

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