What is the Pereto Principle?
You may not have heard of the Pereto Principle, but just about everyone has heard of the 80/20 rule. 80% of the failures in a project are caused by the top 20% of the errors.
Focus on the 20% and you’ll take care of almost all of the failures.
It’s something I used all the time when I worked as an engineer in electronic materials.
Originally, the principle came of out wealth distribution among a given population.
Most businesses will find that 80% of their sales come from just 20% of their customers. They focus on super serving this 20%.
Basically, 80% of the effect in anything is brought on by 20% of the cause.
Vilfredo Pereto showed that about 80% of the land in Italy, at the time, was owned by 20% of the population. Pareto went on to note that 80% of the peas in his garden came from 20% of the pods.
How Pereto Came to Productivity
I have to give credit, once again, to Jay Papasan, the co-author, along with Gary Keller, of The One Thing. I’ve been listening to it this past week and when I heard this technique, I knew I had to put it into practice and share it with you.
I suggest you pick up The One Thing so you get the full grasp of what Jay is teaching, but I’ll give you the summary of it all.
You can also get it for free with the Audible App
How to Pereto Your Productivity
You probably have a very large to-do list associated with a specific project.
So, what should you work on first? This is where the Pereto principle comes into effect.
Determine what is your ultimate desired outcome. Maybe you’re building a website
Brainstorm and list everything that needs to be done to get that website launched. Everything
Now go through and start to sort the items based on how much they’ll impact the final outcome.
You’ll eventually notice that about 20% of the items will impact 80% of the final result.
You’ll now know exactly what you need to focus on first.
You can use this with just about any project
Drive the Pereto Deep by “Peretoing” your results
So, that gives you the biggest items, but what do you work on NOW?
Simply take that 20% and sort it again, so you can determine the 20% of the 20% which will give you the TOP 4% of your tasks which will produce the absolute biggest impact to the final desired outcome.
If 4% is still too broad of a focus, simply Pereto it out again, until you have a very clear idea of what needs to be done right now.
Pereto on Many Levels
If you’re like me, you have numerous projects on your desk at any given time. Obviously, if you focus on the top 20% or even top 4% of each project, you’ll never complete them. Sure, you’ll be 90+% of the way there, but you’ll never really finish.
So, you may have to Pereto your project.
Given your overall business goals, which projects are the most important?
Find the top 20% of the projects and you’ll probably have 80% of your business goals taken care of.
Use the Pereto Principle to sort the tasks of that project and then finish it. Focus on it until it’s DONE.
Then move to the next project and Pereto out the steps to know what is going to get you 80% of the way to completion on that one.
Nothing is perfect. Let this flex.
I think you can see how this work. Nothing is perfect and you may have to flex this.
But, the point of it all for Jay Papasan is to help you discover The One Thing you should be focused on right now.
Tomorrow, I’m going to share with you, why it’s so important for us to discover that one thing.
Again, it’s a great book. I’ll put a link to it in the show notes at PDesmondAdams.com. Highly recommended. I started reading it after numerous people said the same thing. They were right. Check it out.
Call to Action
Pareto out today’s tasks … just as an experiment and then focus ONLY on those top items… with the highest one first. JUST THAT ONE THING