Manage your time effectively - 80-20 Rule

10 mins

The 80/20 rule helps you focus on the most important things in your life while avoiding or even eliminating less-important activities that don't serve a clear purpose in your life.

Time management is one of the most important skills that every professional must have. If you cannot manage time efficiently, it will lead to your failure in life. The 80/20 rule is an extremely useful tool that can help you make the most of your time and resources. The 80/20 rule is a simple concept that states that 20% of your time should be spent on activities that will generate 80% of your results. In this article, we will discuss how to apply the 80/20 rule to improve your productivity and get more done in less time.

What is the 80/20 rule?

The 80/20 rule states that 80% of our results come from 20% of our activities. If we understand this principle, we can take advantage of the 20% of the time we spend on tasks that bring us the most value.  

The 80/20 rule is based on the work by the Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, who noted that in any given area, roughly 80% of all wealth came from 20% of the land. You may also know it as Pareto’s Principle.

The 80/20 rule applies to every aspect of our lives:

We can use the 80/20 rule to decide which projects we should focus on. By focusing on 20% of the projects, we will achieve 80% of the results we desire. We can use the 80/20 rule to determine what we need to work on. If we use the 80/20 rule, we will only need to work on 20% of the things we want to do.

If you want to start a business, the first step would be to decide what kind of business you want to start. You can choose from many different options such as selling products, renting space, offering services, running a catering business, or starting a consulting company. Once you have made your decision, you will then have to identify the 20% of activities that will give you the 80% of your business. This may sound like common sense, but many people do not apply the 80/20 rule in their lives and they usually end up regretting it.

If you already have a business, the 80/20 rule can be used to determine where you should spend your time and resources. The 80/20 rule can be used to identify a core competency or key services. For example, an 80/20 analysis of a business could reveal that customer service accounts for 80% of its revenue. Or it could reveal that 20% of the products sell best and 20% are best placed for distribution.

In the last decade, a team at Microsoft found that 20% of the code in the Windows operating system accounted for 80% of the bugs reported by customers. 

The 80/20 rule applies to life too. When you have too many tasks to do, the 80/20 rule can help you to figure out which ones you need to focus on first. It’s often said that 80% of people will never make it to the top 20%. We have to choose what we want to do. 

The 80/20 rule is a very useful tool that has been used for many years by many people who are great at what they do.

How to apply the 80/20 rule?

Most people have a very skewed perspective when it comes to time. They spend way too much time on activities that do not bring them much value and they do not even realize it. This leads to a feeling of never having enough time. The best way to increase the effectiveness of your time is by being able to identify where your time goes and where it could be better spent. Once you can determine where your time goes, you can begin to direct your time towards achieving your goals. 

Track your time

The first step in this process is to track your time. It’s amazing how quickly your time disappears if you don’t keep track of it. When you begin tracking your time you will discover a lot of things about yourself. This may seem like a simple step, but many people do not do this. They simply do not have the discipline to keep track of their time. 

A time log helps you get a better sense of what you’re really getting done. It’s like a diary, but instead of writing down every moment of your day, you write down the activities you do and the amount of time you spend on each one. The idea behind a time log is that it gives you a clear picture of exactly how much time you spend on certain tasks and, by extension, what you’re actually good at, and what you could do better.

If you’re just starting out, focus on the things that will make a big difference.

 It is possible to do this old school by manually making entries to a journal or using apps on your mobile phone. I personally use aTimeLogger, which is a time-tracking app that has a very clean interface and a hassle-free way to enter the tasks you are doing. But feel free to experiment with any other tools that you find comfortable. There are a ton of these time management tools out there.

Time audit

The next step is to do an audit. A time audit is an exercise in which you set aside some time to analyze the time spent on different activities and projects. This is a very simple exercise but it does not only involve how much time you are spending on different activities but also where you spend your time. This is a good exercise to have done once or twice a month to keep track of where your time goes and to make changes where necessary. When you do this exercise for the first time, you might be surprised to see just how much time you are spending on unimportant activities. 

You might be tempted to think that a time audit is a waste of time. It is not! In fact, a time audit is one of the best ways to get more organized. You will know how much time you are wasting on certain activities and you can start saving it. Just becoming cognizant of where you spend your time, makes you more productive. Once you start doing this, you will see that the time you used to spend on things like surfing the Internet or watching TV will be replaced with time spent on important tasks. 

Set Priorities

The natural next step after doing a time audit is to deliberately start setting priorities. This is where you will start making changes. The goal here is not to cut out all the unimportant activities but to get rid of those activities which you know you are doing because you feel compelled to do them and not because they are important. These activities might include some of your hobbies or things that you have put off doing for a long time.

When you set priorities, you will realize that there is actually a time value to your priorities. You need to decide what you want to achieve in the long run. This means that instead of being spontaneous, you will set a schedule.

 It will not be an easy process as you will have to make hard decisions. Use the 80/20 rule and find the 20% of work that produces 80% of results and set your priorities on that. When you start implementing these new habits, you will be amazed by how well they work for you. You should also find the 20% of work that gives you the most fun and set your priorities accordingly. you need to ask yourself, what is important to you? What are the activities that bring you joy? What do you love to do? How much does it cost you to do them?

Track Progress

The key to successful time management is to track progress regularly and be honest with yourself about what you have achieved. Remember that even if you have achieved one thing, it can still be a long way to go. Make sure you measure how well you are doing in terms of your priorities. If you want to succeed, make sure you are working towards your goal rather than just going through the motions. You will have to plan and set time intervals. You will have to sit down during those planned times and evaluate where you stand. This will give you an idea of what you can improve upon. The most important aspect of tracking progress is to evaluate your actions, see if there are things that are not working for you, and then make changes. You need to learn to manage your time well.

You can easily do this exercise by setting aside 30 minutes for it and writing down everything you think you spend most of your time on and whether that was really productive or not. This may sound like a lot of work but you can actually do this exercise in less than five minutes if you really focus on it. In addition to that, you can also track your progress against the goals you set in the previous months and year.

Time management - The Pomodoro Technique

Once you figured out where you stand in terms of productivity, the next step is to find ways to improve it. One way to accomplish this is by using a time management technique like the Pomodoro technique. It’s based on the idea of working for short durations of focussed time and taking small breaks in between.

The Pomodoro technique is a great time management technique that is used to help people get more work done in less time. It is a simple yet effective method for managing time. It involves working in short, focused bursts of time. The technique is used by many people and businesses who want to accomplish more in less time. It is based on the idea that you can get more done in a shorter period of time than in a longer one. In other words, you can make yourself more efficient by setting up a schedule of work time and break time. The Pomodoro technique is easy to learn and use. The technique requires minimal equipment and no special training. 

Pomodoro technique

Pomodoro technique

The Pomodoro technique works by breaking down tasks into focused time segments of 25 minutes (productivity phase). In each focused time session, you need to concentrate only on one task. After every segment, you should switch off from what you are doing for a few minutes, take a quick 5-minute break (recovery phase) to recuperate, and then go back to the focused phase.  After you have completed four of these intervals, you can take a longer 25-minute break. It is a simple idea but it does wonders for your productivity.  

There are different variations to this method. But the general idea is the same. Focussed time segments followed by short breaks and a longer break after a few of these focussed sessions. I use this technique often to stay focused. Initially, I was skeptical, but later, when I saw it working, I fell in love with this method. I use it pretty often, particularly when I feel overwhelmed with a lot of tasks on my plate, I resort to using this technique to tackle the tasks on my list. 

The important step is to identify the 20% of activities that produce 80% of the results that matter to you. 


In conclusion, a key step to ensure that you are spending your time on the right things is to identify the 20% of activities that produce 80% of the results that matter to you. It does not matter if you follow the Pomodoro technique or any other time management technique. As long as you track your time, set correct priorities, and track your progress, you should be able to manage your time effectively. 

Do you agree? Is there a different time management technique that you think works better than the Pomodoro technique? Leave your thoughts in the comments section.

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