Established, since 1997, leading UK based training provider.

The Time Management 80-20 Rule

The time management 80-20 rule

Time management training - The 80-20 rule

Time Management : The time management 80-20 rule

Have you ever heard of the 80/20 rule?

If you don't know the 80-20 rule, then take a moment to memorise it, since understanding the meaning of the 80-20 rule can change your life!
It could make the Value of your work go up and the Volume of your work go down.

Here is the 80 20 rule in a nutshell.
80% or more of the value is contained in 20% or less of the content.

The same statement may be rewritten:
80% or more of the content will hold only 20% or less of the value.

Examples of 80-20 thinking

80% or more of the value of your newspaper is contained in 20% or less of the print; meaning that you don't read the whole newspaper, do you? You gain all the value you want from your newspaper by reading 20% or less of the whole.

80% or more of the content of the internet will hold only 20% or less of the valuable information; meaning that the intellectual content of any internet search is concentrated into 20% of the whole: and that 80% of the content of the internet is mindless rubbish, that is of no value to you.

80% or more of the turnover in your business is coming from 20% or less of your current clients; meaning, you have a small number of good clients that give you consistent high value work, and a much larger number of smaller clients that give you smaller amounts of low value work.

80% or more of the trouble is coming from a small 20% minority of your colleagues; meaning most of your people are great. But there are a small number of people who seem to be the cause of all the trouble.

Do these examples seem plausible to you?

Here are some more:

80% or more of the burglaries are being committed by 20% or less of the population.

80% or more of the taxes are coming from 20% or less of the population. The startling truth is that in 2013-14, the best-paid 1 per cent of workers will contribute 29.8 per cent of all income tax:

The people in the top 1 per cent of earners pay almost a third of all income tax received by the Treasury.

Time Management Training Time Management Training Course Logo

Time Management Training

Most people feel they need help with time management. How can you get more done in the same amount of time? How can you stop other people wasting your time? If you want to know how, then click here to find out more about our time management training course.

What does the 80-20 have to do with you?

Have you ever considered this?
80% or more of the value you add to your organisation is contained in 20% or less of what you do.

Or we could say that 80% of what you do is, to a large degree, a waste of time and effort, since it adds little or no value to the organisation.
Or we could say it another way:

If you could figure out what are the high value 20% activities tending to add massive value to the organisation, then you could maximise your efficiency by doing more of the 20%. Simultaneously you might strive to cut and curtail the amount of time you waste on the useless 80%.

Here is the all-important 80 20 question:

In your job, what are the five or six tasks that are the top 20% value adding activities?

Meaning: What activities do you think mainly account for you being on the payroll? If you had to prioritise how your job role adds value to the organisation, what five or six tasks would make it onto the top of your charts?

Let us assume that everything else on your list is relatively, not very valuable.

The point is to try as hard as you can, to spend as much time as you can, concentrating only on the value adding tasks. And to simultaneously strive to limit the amount of time you spend on the non-value adding 80%.

You are a limited resource facing an unlimited demand.

You are a limited resource in the sense that you have only limited time, limited energy and limited enthusiasm. But you seem to be facing an unlimited demand on your time, energy and enthusiasm.

If you are a limited resource facing an unlimited demand, and if you try to do it all at 100% perfection, what would be the long term consequence?

Since you are a limited resource facing an unlimited demand, you need to prioritise, and concentrate on a certain smaller number of tasks, 20%. And delegate, or delay or dismiss all the other, low value 80% tasks.

If you focused and concentrated on only the higher value tasks, then you would increase your value, and decrease the volume of work you do. You would be less busy, but more productive.

If you were less busy, but more productive, then that would be wonderful, wouldn't it?

How can you be a better time manager?

How do you do that?

By applying the 80-20 rule.

Test it. See for yourself.

FREE Training Needs Analysis Free Training Needs Analysis Logo

FREE Training Needs Analysis!

In order to get the best from your training, you need to discover your relative strengths and weaknesses. Take our FREE training needs analysis questionnaire now and get a report in less than five minutes!

About the Author: Chris Farmer


Chris Farmer is the founder of the Corporate Coach Group and has many years’ experience in training leaders and managers, in both the public and private sectors, to achieve their organisational goals, especially during tough economic times. He is also well aware of the disciplines and problems associated with running a business.

Over the years, Chris has designed and delivered thousands of training programmes and has coached and motivated many management teams, groups and individuals. His training programmes are both structured and clear, designed to help delegates organise their thinking and, wherever necessary, to improve their techniques and skills.

Blogs by Email

Do you want to receive an email whenever we post a new blog? The blogs contain article 5-10 minutes long - ideal for reading during your coffee break!

Further Reading in Time Management

  • The 15 Best Time Management Ideas
    How Can You be a Better Time Manager? The 15 Best Time Management Ideas Time management is the art of doing "the most valuable thing", at any given moment. Think about it for a second: If you are always doing "the most valuable thing", at any given moment, then you will...
    Read Article >
  • 20 Top Time Management Tips
    It is an interesting fact that the 20 top time management skills all start with the letter P. I call it the P-List time management skills. Here is the time management skills P-List
    Read Article >
  • Where is a good time management training course
    Time management training is designed to help you to become more efficient in your use of time, money and effort.
    Read Article >
  • Common Time Management Mistakes
    We live in a world with constant distractions, in order to stay focused learn to avoid these common traps.
    Read Article >
  • The Avoidance of Preventable Errors
    No one is perfect, we are only human, and as such we make stupid mistakes. However, there are some steps we can take to eliminate them.
    Read Article >