What Is The 80/20 Rule And Why It Will Change Your Life

I mention the 80/20 rule frequently in my writings so I thought it was about time to write a proper introduction to the concept. I believe it’s fundamental to every business person – to every human being – so if you have never heard of this rule, please read on and absorb everything I’m about to tell you, it could potentially change your life.

The 80/20 rule sounds like a statistic and in some ways it is. Personally I’m not a big fan of maths and beyond basic web statistics like pageviews, impressions, unique visitors – and when I stretch myself – conversion rates and split testing, I try and avoid all complex numbers. I work better with feelings, ideas and concepts.

The good thing about the 80/20 rule is that you don’t have to understand statistics to be a believer. Yes it has foundations in economics and yes, it was “proven” using statistical analysis by a man named Pareto, but it is not meant to be understood only by economics professors.

Here’s what the Wikipedia has to say about it:

The principle was suggested by management thinker Joseph M. Juran. It was named after the Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, who observed that 80% of income in Italy was received by 20% of the Italian population. The assumption is that most of the results in any situation are determined by a small number of causes.

Living The 80/20 Way: Work Less, Worry Less, Succeed More, Enjoy More by Richard KochI can’t remember exactly when I was first exposed to the 80/20 Rule but I know when it first really hit home. I was in my local bookshop and I picked up a copy of Living The 80/20 Way by Richard Koch. Koch took the 80/20 Rule and made it his own by writing a series of books on the topic. Living The 80/20 Way fit me well because it discussed living life productively seeking maximum satisfaction by focusing on your passions (Koch has written other books focusing on the 80/20 Rule for business and managers that I didn’t enjoy quite as much). At the time I sometimes accused myself of being lazy for not “working hard” but I realized what I was doing was living an 80/20 lifestyle and in fact probably being a lot more productive than those working harder than myself.

What Exactly Is The 80/20 Rule?

By the numbers it means that 80 percent of your outcomes come from 20 percent of your inputs. As Pareto demonstrated with his research this “rule” holds true, in a very rough sense, to an 80/20 ratio, however in many cases the ratio can be a lot higher – 99/1 may be closer to reality.

It really doesn’t matter what numbers you apply, the important thing to understand is that in your life there are certain activities you do (your 20 percent) that account for the majority (your 80 percent) of your happiness and outputs.

You may have expected me to say that 20 percent of your activities produce 80 percent of your financial rewards, and that is true, there are probably a handful of activities you do each week that produce your income. You can definitely apply the 80/20 Rule to most aspects of your business or working life, however I believe your overall happiness and satisfaction are much better variables to focus on. Money certainly plays an important role in your happiness and your money is influenced by 80/20 relationships, but it is only a component that leads to your overall well being, which should be your primary concern.

80/20 Examples

There are many economic conditions, for example the distribution of wealth and resources on planet earth, where a small percentage of the population controls the biggest chunk, which clearly demonstrate the 80/20 Rule. There are business examples such as 20 percent of employees are responsible for 80 percent of a company’s output or 20 percent of customers are responsible for 80 percent of the revenues (or usually even more disparate ratios). These are not hard rules, not every company will be like this and the ratio won’t be exactly 80/20, but chances are if you look at many key metrics in a business there is definitely a minority creating a majority.

At a micro level just by looking at your daily habits you can find plenty of examples where the 80/20 Rule applies. You probably make most of your phone calls to a very small amount of the people you have numbers for. You likely spend a large chunk of your money on few things (perhaps rent, mortgage payments or food). There is a good chance that you spend most of your time with only a few people from the entire pool of people you know.

I’ll present to you how the 80/20 Rule applies to my life and how I have used the concept, although not always deliberately – it’s just the way I construct my life (for maximum pleasure!) -to improve the efficiency of my output and enhance my overall lifestyle.

My 80/20 Life

In my life I’ve noticed plenty of 80/20 ratios and generally they relate to my core competencies and passions. I really enjoy writing articles such as this, recording podcasts and interacting with other business people through Skype and blogging. In terms of rewards, the two-to-four hours or so per day that I spend writing – when I’m in the creative zone and my best work comes out almost effortlessly – is my money time. My articles and podcasts work hardest to generate income for me, create business opportunities and allow me to express myself creatively. I get the most financial and intrinsic satisfaction from this time.

I expect you could tell me a similar story about your life. During times you really enjoy yourself your output is at its peak. Your passion activities probably don’t pay your bills at the moment, which unfortunately means that you can’t sustain your life by indulging only in what you enjoy. I’ll talk more about transforming your life to a financially stable and personally fulfilling 80/20 format later in this article.

During some times in my life I struggle and waste time performing activities I don’t enjoy or I am not good at. For example bookkeeping is not high on my fun list. I don’t always like managing keywords in Google AdWords campaigns because I don’t have the patience to thoroughly test the variables and track the numbers. The same can be said for things like Google Analytics. These activities are more numerical in basis, I’m not a numbers person so when possible I leave these tasks, along with other activities like programming, graphic design and proofreading to other people, the specialists who enjoy them.

Some of my time is spent procrastinating or working inefficiently doing activities that provide very little benefit. This often occurs when I am tired or below peak physical condition. I sometimes lack the mental throughput to motivate myself to be productive (and boy, my writing stinks when I’m tired!), but I’m working on it and getting much better at reducing time wastage. When I’m in this state it’s smarter for me to study – read books and ebooks – because I’m not capable of producing quality output, but taking input – learning – is a good use of time when I am not there 100 percent mentally.

80/20 Business

When I look at one of my businesses, BetterEdit.com, it’s very clear that a small handful of repeat customers account for most of the income. The customers who become longterm users, who gain the most from the services and fit well demographically and socially with the business model, are key. They provide 80 percent of the value but only represent 20 percent (or much less) of the overall people that use the business. My job is to determine the best way to attract and convert more customers into longterm users.

With blogging I learned (and teach in my Blog Profits Blueprint newsletter) that there are a handful of activities that I do every day that produce the most results. Breaking things down further, there are usually a key 20 percent of elements within an individual blog article (think article headline) that have the most dramatic effect on results. The numbers of course are not clean 80/20 ratios but there are definitely dominant factors at play.

In a business sense, finding the 80/20 ratios is crucial for maximizing performance. Find the products or services that generate the most income (the 20 percent) and drop the rest (the 80 percent) that only provide marginal benefits. Spend your time working on the parts of the business that you can improve significantly with your core skills and leave the tasks that are outside your best 20 percent to other people. Work hardest on elements that work hardest for you. Reward the best employees well, cull the worst. Drop the bad clients and focus on upselling and improving service to the best clients.

How You Can Live An 80/20 Lifestyle

When you start to analyze and breakdown your life into elements it’s very easy to see 80/20 ratios all over the place. The trick, once your key happiness determinants have been identified, is to make everything work in harmony and avoid wasting time on those 80 percent activities that produce little satisfaction for you.

The message is simple enough – focus on activities that produce the best outcomes for you. This applies to both your business/working life and your “other” life (I think they are all part of your “life” but people often prefer to distinguish them). The problem for most people is how to make a living from what you really enjoy, so lets focus on that…

I’m sure you have heard the phrase “struggling artist”. The stereotype where a creative person, musicians, actors, writers and artists, struggle to get discovered and work long hours on horrible day jobs, often in retail and hospitality, until hopefully they finally break out, get discovered and become famous. It shouldn’t surprise you that the ratio of struggling artists who actually become famous enough to live off their craft also follows an 80/20 Rule – only a small few of the overall total manage to get that far.

The same can be said for entrepreneurs. How many of you now reading this article are working day jobs, jobs you probably don’t like much, while you work hard after-hours to get your dream business up and running?

In truth, and this is a sad fact, most people in the world work jobs they don’t like and only truly live their passions on weekends and outside of working hours. Only a small sample actually live their passions day in and day out, how they want to and when they want to. If you want to become one of the special few so you can live your passions on your terms there are a few things you can do.

Focus On Your Passions, Not Material Possessions

The simple fact is not everyone can be a famous artist. Not everyone will start a million dollar business. I’m not going to tell you stop striving for those goals, I’m working on them myself, however you can work smarter TODAY to find greater fulfillment, and that is what living an 80/20 lifestyle is all about. Best of all, your likelihood of becoming one of the famous artists or entrepreneurs is enhanced if you tweak your life to follow the 80/20 Rule because you tap into what you do best more often.

The first thing you must decide, and this is often the hardest step, is to determine what it is exactly you have passion for. Some people can answer this question easily – “I want to be a famous pianists/singer/poet/author”, “I’d like to run my own real estate agency/coffee shop/advertising company” etc. Others may have a general idea “I don’t want a day job” or “I want to run a business” but the specifics are not sorted yet. If you are not sure what your passions are all I can suggest is test yourself. It’s usually easy to determine what you DON’T like so keep doing that until you find what it is you DO like.

Outputs Vs Inputs

I’d like to make a point about outputs vs inputs before moving on. Most humans are good consumers – we are good at taking inputs. Chances are you can easily rattle off a bunch of things you do enjoy about your life: eating out at nice restaurants, consuming junk food, reading books and magazines, going to parties and dance clubs, watching movies and DVDs, listening to music, meeting new people, surfing the net, having sex, playing sports and shopping. All of these activities more or less are inputs which means you consume the outputs of other people.

You may consider the activities I just mentioned passions but it’s hard to find a sustainable passion if all you do is consume. To foster an 80/20 lifestyle you need to locate activities that are passions for you because you create output for others to enjoy. Yes you can get paid to have sex, watch movies, eat at restaurants and read books, but chances are you won’t find it fulfilling or sustainable for very long OR you will be required to provide something back as part of your involvement – that’s your output, the value you create.

It’s okay to love eating out at restaurants and claiming your passion is food, if your intention is to also create output by starting your own restaurant, or a restaurant reviews website or a newsletter or magazine or becoming a chef. If you enjoy listening to music you might also enjoy producing your own music or covering the music industry as a journalist on your own blog.

Only by producing output for other people to enjoy or make practical use of can you expect to convert a passion into a sustainable income. You should understand this already as I suspect the times in your life that you have created something for others or worked on something that benefited other people you experienced the most fulfillment. If you suffer from a lack of direction now, if you are depressed because you don’t even know what your passions are to start applying the 80/20 Rule to, you need to do one thing – start being creative and giving back – produce output! You won’t find fulfillment only by consuming.

An 80/20 Lifestyle Blueprint

To start living 80/20 today you have only to do one thing – focus your energies on what you enjoy.

Part time work – Part time passion

Many people work a full time job and work after hours on a business or hobby or creative talent. If this is you I suspect your ratio is not 80/20 and probably closer to 20/80. You spend way too much time at a job you don’t like, you are probably not very motivated to do it well so you don’t fall into the vital 80/20 employees for that company, and by the time you get home you are too exhausted to spend time on your passion. You feel like you are getting nowhere fast. This lifestyle is not good for anyone since all the relationships fall into the 80 percent that produce 20 percent of the value. You get very little from it and the people you work for get very little from you.

If this currently describes your situation what you need to do is start changing those ratios. Reduce the amount of time you spend at a job you don’t like and increase the amount of time you spend on your passion. You may say you can’t do that because you need the money but I suspect you don’t really need as much as you think you do. Most people can live off part time work but choose to work more because they want more things. You may see your peers enjoying material goods which creates desires in you. Your wants start to outweigh your needs, which is probably the biggest pitfall in our modern, advertising driven, materialistic society.

I’m not saying you have to live like a pauper but I know that your real happiness comes from spending time doing things you enjoy the most, not from earning more money. Chasing the dollar for the sake of the dollar does not work. Chasing passion often leads to a greater income because the quality of your output is so much higher. Focus your energy on increasing investment in your core strengths and you will reap rewards.

Drop your working hours to three days per week and spend more time attracting more clients, booking more singing gigs, finding more time to write your novel or to develop your invention or code your software or find investors or whatever it is you really want to do.

For those of you who have no intention of turning your passions into money generating enterprises this is still a good option. If money isn’t your primary concern but your music is, why do you spend so much time working to earn more money than you need? Yes you need to plan for the future and build assets, but clearly for your musical soul it’s not something that needs to take the majority of your time and energy. You can be happy without that mansion by the sea and you never know, if you spent more time on your music the eventual album sales may one day lead to that mansion by the sea. If not, at least you will be a lot happier for following your enthusiasm rather than the dollar.

If financial freedom is important to you and a big part of your plans look at this step as phase one and work to convert your passions into income generating propositions. Grow your business client-by-client, gig-by-gig or sale-by-sale. keep adjusting your work vs passion time ratio as your business grows to support you and you no longer need your job income. Look for 80/20 activities in everything you do and drop any inefficiencies as soon as you can.

Don’t Let Fear Stop You

The biggest factor that stops most people from chasing their dreams and working towards their real goals is fear. Fear of the lack of security, the reduced paycheck and of the unknown future keeps people locked into routines that are not satisfying. That path leads to sadness, depression, poor health, low income and ultimately an early death. Who wants that!

Don’t let fear be the reason for not achieving your goals. Stop, reassess your real passions, remove the money equation long enough so you can think without worrying about finances, and make plans to move towards your 80/20 lifestyle activities. Maximize what you are good at. Find the activities that produce the most results for you and your business and put your energy where the big rewards are.

Yaro Starak
80/20 Optimizer



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Yaro Starak is the author of the Blog Profits Blueprint, a report you can download instantly to learn how to make $10,000 a month, from only blogging 2 hours per day. You can find Yaro on Facebook, Twitter and .

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  • Yaro,

    Good stuff! It’s great to find another marketer who shares solid advice and concepts based on what works.

    Sign up for the free marketing guide

    • I have heard of this concept before, but never really read about it or understood it. This post clearly explains the concepts of the how it works. Now is the time to look at how I spend my day and how to be more efficient with it.

  • […] “The principle was suggested by management thinker Joseph M. Juran. It was named after the Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, who observed that 80% of income in Italy was received by 20% of the Italian population. The assumption is that most of the results in any situation are determined by a small number of causes…”[What Is The 80/20 Rule And Why It Will Change Your Life] […]

  • I think you might have just won the award for longest blog post in history.

    • Aditya

      A Longest Blog Post that I ACTUALLY read. Coming from a guy who is not a reader.

    • James

      Thanks Yaro, that was a great piece. I did come across the 80/20 principle in economics but your post is much better and it adds value to my life. I had been struggling to figure out how to do the things I love when I have to spend half of my day at work where I am employed. Great stuff, I can plan and figure it out now.

  • […] Yaro Starak does an excellent job of explaining the Pareto Principle or 80/20 Rule over at Entrepreneurs Journey. Even if you are aware of how this principle works I’d still highly recommend reading this article for the practical tips and insights Yaro shares. […]

  • Michael – Not sure about that. I’m in competition with Steve Pavlina, but I think he’s still winning 🙂

    It did break the 3000 word mark though. If only my 3000 word assignments back at university came out so easily (and didn’t require references and research and all that).

    • I don’t mind that you broke 3,000 words. I read and benefited from all 3,000+ words. This post will, no doubt, change my life. How am I just now finding this post 3 1/2 years after it was written? I googled “80/20 rule” after reading the phrase online. I’m so glad your post was the first entry that was posted. This post is priceless and has given me much to think about, and even more to act on. Thanks again, Yaro.

      krissy knox 🙂
      follow me on twitter:

    • Richard May

      My ex gf shared this with me years back ( the rule that is ) ! She a trainer working at eon.
      She described it like this….
      What’s more efficient 100% effort to gain 100% result Or 20% effort 80% result.
      I loved it and now try to apply a small amount of effort for maximum results. In essence it’s not EFFICIENT to be a perfectionist 80% of the time.

  • Yaro,

    Great post. Love the length and the in-depth look at something I’ve always wanted to know more about but never had the motivation to check into.

    You here a lot of people talk about it and a lot of people trying to unlock it’s secrets. I may stop by and pick up one of those living the 80/20 way and read about what it has to say.

    As I often write about I am constantly pulling my hair out trying to accomplish everything I want to accomplish and often times getting no where. Maybe this concept will give me some clarity on where to focus my efforts.

    Who knows but great post.

  • […] Update (March 30, 2006): The above ties directly into the 80/20 rule which Yaro on the excellent Entrepreneur’s Journey blog covers very well. […]

  • Great post, Yaro! I have been struggling with the exact same thoughts – ‘how do I pursue my passion and still be able to sustain/support my family’. I wrote about this in my blog a few days ago here.

  • […] What Is The 80/20 Rule And Why It Will Change Your Life – Learn how to use this powerful concept to enhance your life and business. […]

  • The 80/20 rule in action…

    Spend you time reading longer posts that actually provide some useful information, or read hundreds of posts that only scrape the surface of a topic.

    I guess you have a choice. You can write for people that have no attention span and hope they click on an ad. Or you can write for those who can handle a little more depth and will actually pay attention to what you say.

    I personally read this blog because I believe you have things to say. In this post the ‘produce output’ statement rang the loudest. I get a lot of fulfilment from learning new things, but ultimately I know I will die and what I have learnt will become useless. But when I use what I have learnt to create new things, I create something that can outlive me. My passion for input stems from my passion for output.

    • Creamy Behemoth

      Awesome! I so appreciate the concept. Thanks!

      And thank you, Yaro. Loved the insight, man. Sure appreciate it!

  • Alan – thank you for the great comment, I appreciate your sentiments. I especially like your second last line –

    “But when I use what I have learnt to create new things, I create something that can outlive me.”

    • Your Message A Wonderful quote. I’m going to borrow it. I’m sure you familiar with James Allen’s As A Man Thinketh …

  • […] I pass this on to Dave who has just launched a new niche website, Caesar who has launched the yesfollow project (more on that later)and Yaro who has written an excellent in-depth post on the Pareto principle (also known as the 80/20 rule) – I’m very familiar with Paretos’ work on efficiency from my Economics days! […]

  • […] 1- Yaro from Better Edit wrote about the Pareto Rule. 2- FMF wrote how how trick yourself into contributing into your 401K. 3- Debt Hater wrote how to climb out of your Grandaddy’s debt. 4- Madame X from My Open Wallet wrote a piece asking What makes you feel poor? 5- Nina from Sitting Pretty wrote a great piece on being a Late Adopter. 6- Jim from Bargaineering wrote an intersting piece how Student Loan Debt is An Investment. […]

  • […] Entrepreneurship • Venture Capitalists are Not Long-Term Investors • Forget Investors, Get Out There And Make Some Money! • Elasticity for Entrepreneurs • What Is The 80/20 Rule And Why It Will Change Your Life […]

  • Links and Minifeatures 04 03 Monday…

    Carnival of Investing Recommended: Frugal Wisdom from Wenchypoo……

  • Just letting you know this article has made it to the most popular page on VCNewsCentral.com. Well done!

    VCNewsCentral.com is a brand new blog & news aggregator, just like digg and reddit, but specifically for Entrepreneur’s and Startup news.

    VCNewsCentral lists postings from all the leading bloggers in the VC industry and then allows anyone to vote on the most interesting postings. Check it out and let VCNewsCentral know what is interesting to you!


  • ..

    […] What Is The 80/20 Rule And Why It Will Change Your Life » Entrepreneur’s Journey – by Yaro Starak What Is The 80/20 Rule And Why It Will Change Your Life (tags: lazysheep) […]

  • […] What Is The 80/20 Rule And Why It Will Change Your Life » Entrepreneur’s Journey – by Yaro Starak What Is The 80/20 Rule And Why It Will Change Your Life (tags: lazysheep) […]

  • […] Deciding on having less come into your life forces you to keep only the best. And when you think about it, the 80/20 Pareto principle applies here as well, most of the time 80% of the good stuff comes from 20% of the input. […]

  • […] What Is The 80/20 Rule And Why It Will Change Your Life » Entrepreneur’s Journey – by Yaro Starak (tags: blog) […]

  • […] Once again the 80/20 Rule applies nicely in this situation and I reminded myself of this while promoting in Melbourne. While realistically there are no doubt hundreds, even thousands of opportunities to market in Melbourne it’s much smarter if I spend most of my time on a small handful of locations using what works – my posters. If I can locate the 20% of locations in Melbourne where 80% of the international students spend 80% of their time I have the key to gaining massive exposure at minimum cost. Heck I really only need to hit the top 1% of places where 99% of students are and I’ll get tremendous results. […]

  • […] My recent article – What Is The 80/20 Rule And Why It Will Change Your Life – was featured in 12th edition of the carnival at Be Excellent. Technorati Tags: blog carnival, carnival of entrepreneurshipInternal Tags: blog carnival carnival of entrepreneurship […]

  • […] Like many small business mine goes through peaks and troughs. In a typical 80/20 Rule relationship, I generate 80% of my income in 20% of the months in the year (roughly). […]

  • What Is The 80/20 Rule And Why It Will Change Your Life…

    When you start to analyze and breakdown your life into elements it’s very easy to see 80/20 ratios all over the place. The trick, once your key happiness determinants have been identified, is to make everything work in harmony and avoid wasting time on…

  • […] As I wrote in a previous article – What Is The 80/20 Rule And Why It Will Change Your Life – finding what you enjoy AND what pays you income is a matter of deciding to seek out the activities that provide the most intrinsic pleasure for you and not letting the pursuit of money only for money’s sake rule. […]

  • […] PPC needs to satisfy the long tail of users, the average small business joes, who only have so many hours per day to devote to PPC campaigns. Since I follow an 80/20 rule I’ll spend my time where I can get the best results with the least effort. That is Google AdWords. […]

  • Can you do a podcast on the 80/20 principle- I’m sure it will be very popular:)

  • Maybe Avi, I’ve got a few podcast interviews lined up and they are always well received. Perhaps an 80/20 interview would be good…

  • […] Entrepreneur’s JourneyHas AdSense Gone Too Far? (695 words) “When a webmaster gets a taste for the money suddenly their eyes start to sparkle and… the motivation behind building the website goes from one of indulging in a hobby to making money.”Favorite: What Is The 80/20 Rule And Why It Will Change Your Life […]

  • I have used the 80/20 law but have never seen so much information on it
    Thank You
    Russ Weacver

  • […] Let’s think 80/20 rule. If you get 80% of the outcomes from only 20% of your efforts then you really only need to focus on a core few functions to handle this situation. You need to keep working your job so a good chunk of your day is gone to that. Then you have all the other “life things”. In my case that realistically probably leaves about 2 hours per day of real productive time for your new Internet business. You could start sacrificing sleep to get more hours but I’m not known to do things like that – you might be. […]

  • […] By using the 80/20 rule, you can spend your time improving what works well and prevent yourself wasting time on what is not working. […]

  • Jon Montano

    Rubbish! I don’t think you really understood the Pareto Principle. Yes it is possible to know in hindsight but not beforehand. Your “advice” are good but it has nothing to do with the principle.

  • […] I remember Yaro Starak of Entrepreneur’s Journey and BetterEdit recommending a book a while ago and I haven’t had a chance to pick it up but I personally think that the type of thinking this book encourages is what most entrepreneur’s need and seldom find.  It’s called “Living the 80/20 way” by Richard Koch.  I think this is a book that I need to pick up personally.  I don’t expect it to solve all my life’s problems but having some different tools and insights into managing sure couldn’t hurt. […]

  • […] I was listening to a question and answer session in my coaching club with Rich Schefren and one of my fellow students, who had read Chris Anderson’s book, The Long Tail, just after it was released was asking Rich whether the 80/20 Rule still applied since it appears the Long Tail changes the way the game is played. We had recently covered a module that included the 80/20 Rule in some depth as it related to our businesses and at the time Rich had not read The Long Tail book (I think he has since then). Rich didn’t really argue either way since he had not read the book and simply restated the importance of focusing on the few things that are responsible for the majority of outcomes in your business – the core principle of the 80/20 Rule or Pareto Principle (you can read a detailed explanation of this principle in my article – What Is The 80/20 Rule And Why It Will Change Your Life). […]

  • I am wondering how this concept appliesd to the church. About 80% of the population considers themselves to be Christian. I am wondering how many if this rule applies are actually Christ followers? I know that just because someone says that they are a Christian doesn’t make them one, so I am betting that this principle is perhaps accurate in theis situation too. That being the case, then many people are going to hell who actually think they are going to heaven. Very sad indeed. k, thanks for letting me stop by.

  • […] If you take a look at Darren’s post – How Much Do I Earn from Blogging? – you will see that it’s in fact because he operates 20 blogs (that could be an old figure now) that he earns so much and I’m pretty sure if you did some analysis of Darren’s network, a small number of sites bring in the majority of his income (another example of the 80/20 rule). Those sites are very likely his heaviest trafficked sites, relying extensively on search traffic since search engine visitors are more likely to click ads, unlike Problogger.net readers who know very well what an AdSense or Chitika ad looks like. […]

  • John

    Good article. You mentioned BetterEdit….you may want to submit your essay for the editors to correct. You wrote “I realized that I was doing was living an 80/20 lifestyle”, and “Find the products or services the generate the most income”.

    Even though I may sound critical of your post, I do like your site and do intend on visiting again in the future. Keep up the great writing! 🙂

  • John – most of my blog articles could use some editing. If I submitted them all to BetterEdit I would be broke!

    Thanks for the heads up – I’ve fixed the mistakes.


  • […] the site look popular, and rippling the Chow experience by reiterating his posts. As part of the 80/20 rule, these V.I.P.’s are what make John’s popularity and ad sponsorships soar! It’s […]

  • pareto 80/20: do the minimum effort with a BIG result.

    in bahasa: Bekerja lebih sedikit, menghasilkan lebih banyak

    its work! for me, for my family, and also for my business in Indonesia (http://www.cikalmart.com)

    thanks to yaro, richard koch (i’ve read your book!), and also to alfredo pareto, sure!

    Be happy & Enjoy Your Business,

    Warm Regards from Indonesia,


  • […] For more information on the 80/20 Rule, you may want to visit Entreprenuer’s Journey’s page on the 80/20 Rule. […]

  • […] Realize the activities that create the most value for you and increase the time spent on these activities (learn about the 80/20 rule) […]

  • John J


    Hey you rock! accurately you given the fact that Pareto Principal is parallel to a lot of teachings by famous people such as Robert T. Kiyosaki

    Really love your writing, hope to read more of your article soon!


  • […] stumbledupon the 80/20 rule… and can confirm… that unlike the pareto principal, 80% of my happiness is achieved by […]

  • Makes me want to get skype to communicate with other bloggers/businessmen. Clearly i’m out of the loop

  • […] the 80/20 rule to keep yourself focused on the most important tasks. Simply, the 80/20 rule says that 20 […]

  • […] Following on from yesterday’s post about researching areas. What about another avenue. Buyers Agents and Bird Dogs. Funny names, but seriously its a great way to leverage your time and effort and fits into the 80/20 rule. […]

  • Ayana

    Hi Yaro,

    Thanks for this piece. Your writing is superb! I was doing a search and I say this is the best find on the 80/20 rule explained.

    I too am working towards pursuing my passions and and giving back (output).

    Thanks Yaro.

  • Rob

    How funny – I stumbled across your blog and this article this morning after thinking about the whole 80/20 rule in general life over the weekend. The trigger was washing my car and going for the quickie approach rather than pristine. Happy enough with the results.

    Appropriately I think I probably only scanned 20% of this article too!

  • […] the wisdom of children and knew that many kids would choose the fruit bowl. In accordance to the 80/20 rule, I predicted that 20% of kids would choose the fruit, the other 80% would choose the […]

  • […] the wisdom of children and knew that many kids would choose the fruit bowl. In accordance to the 80/20 rule, I predicted that 20% of kids would choose the fruit, the other 80% would choose the […]

  • […] Yaro Starak: "What is the 80/20 Rule and Why it Will Change Your Life" […]

  • Jason

    Uh-oh… I think you’re going to make me into a lazy man…

    Actually, great concept. Much appreciated.

  • […] Those communities will evolve into regular site visitors. It starts with you giving first. Yaro Starak likes to talk about the 80/20 rule for blogging. If a piece of your 20 isn’t about developing your social network presence, you are […]

  • […] You blog about a topic you thoroughly enjoy and understand. Most of us don’t have 100 different hobbies to blog about but we do have at least one that we could blog about all day (an example of the 80/20 rule). […]

  • A very nice article, thanks for the info – saves me time deciding for change my life.

  • […] 80-20 rule is still very much applicable today. Eighty percent of business revenue is often generated by […]

  • Hello Yaro

    I would like to think the 80/20 rule was correct, but for some reason I seem to be putting in 80% of the work and only getting 20% back, I guess I must be doing something wrong, but on your assumption that its more like 99% to 1% I would certainly go for that as I calculate that approx 1 in a hundred of the population are millionaires

    Nice thinking, regards David

  • Jorge de Leon


    I heard the term 80/20 rule last night and decided to search for an explanantion this morning. Your blog was the first thing that came up and I am so glad it. Your explanation was good and your examples of doing what truly satisfies you and are passionate about hit home with me. I now feel energized and I am going to do whatever it takes to do what I am truly passionate about.

    Thank you so much….


  • I thought this quote was very powerful…”Most people can live off part time work but choose to work more because they want more things.”

    I enjoyed reading your blog, and it reminds me very much of what Tim Ferris wrote about in his book: The Four Hour Work Week.

    -Eliminate the static and focus on the 20%. Great practical advice that I’ve personally have seen solid results from!

    Thank you for the wonderful insight.



  • I guess you should cut down on the length of your posts. 80% of the time I read only 20% of the content of each post! LOL.

    I guess you should write 80% of the message in 20% size of the post.

    I only comment 20% of the 80% of posts I read 🙂

  • Nda

    The BEST reading I’ve come across Internet today, except for one website on “Good Music.” Have never read so lucid an explanation on the 80-20 rule.

    Thanks from the heart of the African mainland.

    • dabz

      I think 20% of the people reading this blog will apply 80% of the 80/20 rule. LOL

  • jibjabber

    I only read 20% of this post.

  • […] 80/20 is a nice ratio to remember. It may even be more helpful than the infamous PE. “By the […]

  • I think you might have just won the award for longest blog post in history.

  • That was a good post, I enjoyed it. I am gradually learning the 20/80 rule, where I fall down is testing – I haven’t really got my head round it yet. Anything a bit technical takes a while for me.

    Just wanted to say thank you really.

    Best wishes,


  • Wow, I lasted through that whole post in the groggy morning. I see you wrote this a couple of years ago, but it’s a timeless subject.

    I’ve run into the 80/20 rule many times, but have never thought about it on a personal level. I’m motivated to try and use this to make my life more rewarding and enjoyable. Thanks!

    @kynamdoan on twitter

  • Jon

    Great advice Yaro… I have come to enjoy a similar philosophy in life as well but never assigned a name to it as you have.

    http://WoodMarvels.com – Create Unique Memories

  • Great post, it’s all about focus and following your own interests, spending time on it enough to become an an expert. Money follows anyway. The guidance about part-time job is great too. Find web resources and articles for personal development at http://www.hasnainzaheer.com

  • S

    The difference between Inputs and Outputs made me realize why I felt so unhappy when I didn’t ‘create’ to give back. Whether its for business or just giving away for free, ‘creation’ is where we feel true happiness. Thanks Yaro. 🙂

  • Thanks for the valuable tips.

  • Hi Yaro,

    Great Blog Post, re-affirming the need to be focused and clear on your outcomes. I think part of that 80/20 rule happens automatically when you are very clear on your outcomes, as you quickly assess If something is in line with what you are doing,

    All the same, it is extremely easy to get off track (especially online, when one click, can you take you on a surf that robs you of 20-30mins or more of your time, if you are not always vigilant! :). .

    So thanks for clarity of the post and making the important point of IGNORING EVERYTHING ELSE, once you have decided what you are going to learn and from whom!

    Congrats also for jumping up 58 places to No. 3 on the winning the web – Internet Marketing Top Blogs!

    Happy New Year!

    Blog Newbie

  • What a great article. After reading many books on finding your passion and not finding the help I was looking for, your explanation of inputs vs outputs gave me several ah ha moments. Finally an explanation that helped me to understand the importance of creativity and the output of that creativity. A big step in helping me narrow down my blog topic and why I have hesitated in choosing a topic in the past.

    Thanks Yaro!

  • Great insight to help finding my passion to write on. I am always a consumer and is never happy with a daily job for paying off my business debt. I am a floral designer and love what I do. Can this be turned into a creative output benefitting others? Excellent article, Yaro.

  • Great article the hard part is finding the 20 percent of things that you do that make you successful be careful to not miss the most important things that you are doing

  • Yaro, I have been struggling with the exact same thoughts. I try to pursue my passion but in the same time I try to still be able to sustain/support my family.

  • Another great article thank you Yaro. Again I have stumbled upon this articles at the exact right time in my journey. Early on in the year I have resolved to spend some time thinking about my long term goals. I have decided to get some good solid goals in place so that I have a good solid target to aim for. What you have said here makes a huge amount of sense and has guided my thoughts in the right direction.

  • Excellent article Yaro. A good source of information for budding entrepreneur like me. I plan to come back your blog for more information on internet marketing.


  • I was looking for something to read today and that book by Richard Koch looks like it might be worth a look.

  • Thanks for a great article, Yaro. The book that did this for me when I was a teenager growing up was actually recommended to me by the inventor of virtual reality himself: Jaron Lanier, at a conference at the University of Toronto. The book he said inspired him to create the technology was Finite and Infinite Games by NYU theologian James P. Carse. It discusses the difference between a finite game which is played for the sake of ending the play and determining a victor, vs. an infinite game – played like a relay race and can have no end. I won’t give any more away, but it is not just a great book for a business person (which is not its demographic necessarily) it is a spiritual treatise that will irrevocably change your perspective on the world in which we live and how we live it.

  • This is very true the 80/20 rule applies to everyone. I have been noticing the 80/20 rule every since i was exposed to it a few years ago. Thanks for the great article it is very informative and should expose more people to this truth.

  • I was looking for something to read today and that book by Richard Koch looks like it might be worth a look.

  • Doreen

    Hi Yaro, may I say as a newbie (setting up via your tutorials etc), this read was powerful. I have been living this ratio as far back as I can remember but never knew it. People thought I was too laid back and easy going but bringing in the £s came naturally yet never my driving force. I’m fortunate to have found two careers in my life time that I love and good at and combine both skill sets. What you explained was simply put and I love the way you are able to do this time and time again. Keep it up Yaro, you have a new fan in myself and sister, who happens to live in Brisbane too. Carry on the great work with passion and love.

  • What a great philosophy and very well explain by Yaro. I really enjoyed it while reading it.

  • So how do I learn to apply the 80/20 rule to my life and business? Find someone who has applied it successfully and ask them. You are the “them”. Thanks for your insight!

  • […] you’re finished, you might want to try reading Yaro Starak’s milestone post on the 80/20 Principle. It’s about prioritizing your work for maximum efficiency–very important stuff, but way […]

  • Well Pareto is pretty much a genius for stating a very simple concept. Yes, the 80/20 rule applies to many aspects in life. I too communicate with only a handful of the contacts on my phone, I regularly communicate with only a handful of my friends on facebook.. etc the list goes on and on.


  • I like the part about parttime passion = partime income. I can relate to that I as I start my business. I work my full time job during the day and part time starting my PI business.

  • Another Great article Yaro, It’s easy to tell that Blogging is your passion, because you do it so well, I know that it took a lot of work to make it look easy but that’s the difference between successful people and unsuccessful people, the winners don’t quit. Keep up the good work.

  • Your Message I have so many varied interests, helping people, charity work, conservation, environment, health issues, writing, inspiring children, sailing, kayaking, photography, how does one find a true passion. You’ve made me think.

  • Uhhhhh… It took a while, but I read the whole article. It is very educational and inspirational, thanks a lot. I think that the hardest thing about 80/20 is to set up your mind to cut out all the unnecessary work we are doing now. It is our passion to be occupied with something that is not important.

  • great article, great truth… i remember the greatest moment of my live, when discover who i was and later relize what were my strenghts.
    after that life it’s been greeeat to me thank god !
    here’s my philosophy in life:
    discover who you are and what your strenghts are, put them to work…..
    and be the best @ what you do.
    enjoying life !

  • I think following your passion is a good rule of thumb for sorting out a way to make a living and be happy

  • […] The 80/20 rule is actually affecting our life and maybe we just not aware of it. Yaro from the Entrepreneurs-Journey.com explains in detailed how the 80/20 rule will change human life. […]

  • Thanks Yaro, your writing is great, it opens mind to develop mind. 80:20 rule will help us define our terms of reference, so we know the area to concentrate on. This should be applied in all axis of life. work, relationship, finance, etc. it help us prioritise.

  • […] Principle: 80/20 applied to Parenting I have come across this principle when I read a blogpost by Yaro Starak on this subject. I might have heard about it before but did not have much influence […]

  • I heard the term 80/20 rule last night and decided to search for an explanantion this morning. Your blog was the first thing that came up and I am so glad it.

  • This rule can be applied to internet marketing and by focusing on analytics you can quickly concentrate on the 20% thats generating 80%.

  • […] 1.Last night I was on a Live Chat with Tim Ferris. Tim Ferris is the author of the #1 New York Bestselling book entitled The 4hr Workweek. I learned a lot from having a chat with Tim. The main thing is that I learned was that he really does apply Pareto’s 80/20 Principle in his life, and his success is living proof of this. I have applied the 80/20 rule in my life, but hearing him reiterate it in the chat made me feel reassured, and validated my reasons for applying this rule even further, thus gaining positive results. If you are unfamiliar with the 80/20 Principle it can be found HERE […]

  • This has reminded me how I often find 80% of my time being spent helping people who often give back very little in return, while yes 80% of the income seems to come from the other 20% or less who are much less hassle and a pleasure to deal with!

  • Good Post, makes you do some research and exercise your brain 🙂

    …we all should understand the Pareto rule and investigate a bit more, including you Yarok 🙂 before posting… I studied this principle at a University 15 years ago and have applied it continously during my career as an Industrial Engineer.

    I will give you a better example applied at retail. 20% of the best sellers products you sell bring 80% of the sales income.

    Keep up the good work!

  • […] 1.Last night I was on a Live Chat with Tim Ferris. Tim Ferris is the author of the #1 New York Bestselling book entitled The 4hr Workweek. I learned a lot from having a chat with Tim. The main thing is that I learned was that he really does apply Pareto’s 80/20 Principle in his life, and his success is living proof of this. I have applied the 80/20 rule in my life, but hearing him reiterate it in the chat made me feel reassured, and validated my reasons for applying this rule even further, thus gaining positive results. If you are unfamiliar with the 80/20 Principle it can be found HERE […]

  • Thanks for the great message Yaro. I am referring this article to a friend of mine. Your passion is reflected from the things you write.

    One major point that comes across is that you will be successful to convert a passion into a sustainable income – if you are producing output for other people to enjoy or make practical use of. This is the missing dot that I have been trying to figure out for a long time.

    As Oprah said “You know you are on the road to success if you would do your job and not be paid for it.”

    Thanks again for making it known.

  • This is a great article. Doesn’t matter if you receive 80 % bad comments… feel wonderful knowing that we, the rest 20%, are going to apply this law on things that really matter!.

    Yaro, you did a fabulous job sharing your inputs and results with us.
    Love your writing style.

    Blessings. muakkkkkkkkkksssssss.


  • Yaro,
    Great article and a great message that showed passion. I have read and studied all 3 of Richard Koch’s 80-20 books and for those readers interested mostly in business, the first one The 80-20 Principle is wonderful.It shows a method of sorting everything with software written in excel. One of the best is called QImacros and is available from http://www.qimacros.com/index.html. It comes with 80 charts & is about $139.00, and includes online video training to learn it. This takes the 80-20 rule and shows you how to use it every day in business.
    Thank you once again for a really helpful article, and all the best in the future.
    Bob Colwell

  • Yaro,

    This is truly helpful.

    I just recently realized and validated that traveling is really my passion. And I started looking for ways on how to earn from it so I could sustain this kind of lifestyle.

    For now, I got back from traveling and came up with my own blog after a couple of months. I would probably go back to the corporate world and work my a$$ off for another couple of years until I become self sufficient myself with the future online biz that I’m planning to enter.

    Thanks for sharing


  • Yaro, I could say that you taught me 80% of what I know about blogging, the other 20% I researched. After a Year of blogging trying to find my passion today I was able to have a real business and I realized that the 80/20 rule was the key element in the success in my business. Here is my 80/20 blogging success. http://www.energymoguls.com Thank you Yaro for the help!

  • One major point that comes across is that you will be successful to convert a passion into a sustainable income – if you are producing output for other people to enjoy or make practical use of. This is the missing dot that I have been trying to figure out for a long time

  • Very interesting that 80/20 way. I noticed, without knowing that, that really a litlle part of people dominates the rest of the people, at least their future. I know a lot of cases of that.

  • A feasible way of explaining it however I think in my case at the moment it is the 10 / 90 rule. Still starting out but at times it does grate you when you are trying to move the results and you can not.

  • […] you can learn a new language in about 3 months, at least be conversational anyway. It’s the 80-20 principle. But learning the rest of the language to become actually fluent will take years if not the rest of […]

  • Ron

    I have heard and read the 80/20 rule many times and admit it, still, it doesn’t sink in at my system. I am trying hard to make it and I will certainly do it Now and not anytime soon.

  • […] few years ago, I read a post about living an 80:20 lifestyle. The author writes about comparing one’s outputs against one’s inputs. In other words, […]

  • Hello Yaro!

    I found this post via a link from your buying and selling websites post. You sure have produced some awesome content over the years. Your quality of work has been incredble, as well as incredibly consistent, and I really rate your blog as one of my favourite, favourites.

    Keep up the good work, mister!

  • Great article, Yaro. It’s a bit long…like most web surfers I have a short attention span…however, I was able to skim through your article to find the 20% of the text that contains 80% of the information;)


  • Fear will stop you dead in your tracks so you must anticipate it and conquer it.

    The funny thing about so much fear about losing your job, not being able to pay bills and all the other daily pressures are that they aren’t the things that truly make most people happy.

    When I look at my happiness (in the 80/20 aspect) – 80% of my happiness comes from 20% of my daily activities. The main activities which gives me the greatest happiness is hanging out with my friends and girlfriend. As long as we have them, and I’m sure you can agree, we’re going to be happy 80% of the time.

  • “Focus your energy on what you Enjoy.”
    That’s a great message Yaro!
    Form my point of view, Success in Life is absolutely the amount of Joy you feel in the moment.

    Thank you for sharing!

  • Hi Yaro,

    Thanks for that in depth and informative (not long) post on the 80/20 rule. Although I am familiar with it, it was good to read your version of sharing, especially how you tied the whole 80/20 rule and your article into going after your dreams and not letting fear stop you.

    Thanks and Peace,


  • […] you know, this concept about the high bursts of energy is also the 80/20 rule that says most of the constructive work you to do only takes 20% of your time. The other 80 % […]

  • awesome stuff man..thumbs up….very usefull especially for a full time blogger like me

  • […] don't believe in reinventing the wheel.  There's a terrific article that explains the whys and hows of the 80/20 […]

  • Hey Yaro,

    Great article. I just came across this when I was trying to figure out how to figure out estimated kayak rentals for a given year at a county park were looking at doing a proposal for. I think i did this right. Of a given amount of customers 20% are going to give you 80% or your gross sales. With this being said if 750,000 people/year are in park attendance, 20% or 150,000 will see your business, 20% of those will seriously consider using your business. Which leaves about 30,000 that would want to rent a kayak. 20% of those or 6,000 people will actually rent a kayak. Did I get this right? There is of course park demographics to consider and discretionary income for this type of activity.

    Thanks for posting this on your blog.

    Carolina Mike

  • […] areas where the Pareto principle. Some people even apply it to their lives as human beings. Blogger Yaro Starak has a great post about how the 80/20 rule can change your life, and author Richard Koch wrote a […]

  • nice post! I’m still confused though. I love TV marathons, does that mean I should spend more time watching TV?

  • This was my first introduction to the 80/20 theory, very interesting and I am hungry to find out more!

  • I am a teacher and this is interesting given the pressure we are put under, and put ourselves under, to get results. We are expected to deliver as close as we can to 100% success. A 20% success v 80% failure would be seen as a sackable offence! Such expectations bring colleagues to an early grave.

    In recent months I have been writing about how educators can use music in their lessons as a tool to surpass this ratio and leverage results. It could also be some other creative tool but the key thing is that whatever tool it is, the teacher has to be able to be creative with it and also coach their pupils in turn to take that tool and be creative with it themselves. Very interested therefore to read what you had to say about the need for ‘output’ for satisfaction.

    Thanks for a very thought provoking blog post

  • […] about how I applied the 80-20 principle more after reading this good post by Yaro Stark on: How The 80-20 Principle Change My Life. The hard part wasn’t doing the 20% of work I needed to get done anymore, it was telling […]

  • i like each and every post of this blog. it is really a worth reading. this blog teach me a knew thing and a better thing.
    i m lovin it

  • Great post Yaro. I know it is a little old, but it is an evergreen post. I definitely think the number one thing to do is to identify the 80% of activities that are, more or less, worthless and cut down/stop doing them.

    Ordering the book, fyi!

  • Great Information to share with us . I like your ebook also blogging money and also think about make ebook like this but how ?

  • Great post. I think using your passions to power your work is so important. If 80 of the effect comes from 20 percentage of the input then I really need to work out what my best outcomes are and what leads to them

  • Hi Yaro,

    Never heard of the 80/20 rule before until I came across and read through your article above. I now feel more inclined to google around and find out more about it.

    A very interesting concept without doubt.

    Many Thanks


  • Thank you for writing this article. It is a major blessing for me! Keep on pushing sir.

  • […] 80 20 rule can really transform your life when put to good use.  In Yaro Starak’s, blog post, ‘What Is The 80/20 Rule And Why It Will Change Your Life ‘, he really does a good job in defining the Pareto principle and Yaro is living proof of what you […]

  • […] to nutrients and workouts. After the MED you are actually working backwards. This is similar to the 80/20 principle. I’m interested to see how he applies this to hacking the […]

  • […] myself into the unknown. After I have read the article of one of my favourite online “mentors” here, I knew that it is high time for me to make some output. I needed to take action otherwise, I will […]

  • It’s amazing how often you come across the 80/20 principle not only in business and in life. I always find it’s a good exercise to sit down and write down those 20% of activities that are generating the most revenue for my business. It really helps you to take stock and focus on what you should be doing.

  • A Wonderful quote

    Misbah Mumtaz

  • Great article! Following your passion is a way to make a living and be happy.

  • […] The 80/20 rule has been written about in multiple articles and books everything from the wonderful Tim Ferris and his belief that 20% of input will produce the bulkwark 80% of results in fitness change. Furthermore there are countless articles out there if you just Google: Pareto’s Principle 80/20 Rule. Also check out this site for a sweet synopsis of the idea and its background click here. […]

  • Good work explaining the 80/20 principle. Very clear. And you say you are living it.

    Hmm. I think my life is about to change.

  • […] to nutrients and workouts. After the MED you are actually working backwards. This is similar to the 80/20 principle. I’m interested to see how he applies this later to hacking the […]

  • Hi! Yaro,

    I heard this concept from my friends but never read it in detail.
    This article is the perfect initial step to starts thing & progressing towards 80/20


  • Yaro: Wow, very intersesting stuff in this post!! I never really knew what the 80/20 rule was until I read this, it’s a real eye opener…I need to start applying this stuff in my real life!

  • […] more common terminology to explain this phenomenon used today is the 80/20 Rule, instead of Pareto’s Principle. Managers today have even adopted this rule of thumb to […]

  • This rule of 80/20 is very interesting I haven’t think like this before, it seems that if you follow that rule you can be much more productive, but you must first find what is the 20% that gives you the 80% of your wealth or happiness

  • I have learned about this theory when I studied project management. Since then, I just outsource anything I don’t enjoy doing. Really, anything, starting with accounting. Works like a charm.

  • I have owned and operated small and medium business for 30 years and the 80/20 is TRUE. In fact in most cases just a handle full of customers can generate most of your sales.

    This sounds really great beacuse all you need to do is find some customers that will be loyal to and you, pay you on time. The reality is that you have to work realy hard for a long period of time to get them.

    Now for the bad news, just a few customers make up you entire sales. What happens if they find another supplier that is better, cheaper, faster, prettier??
    Yup, you just went bankrupt. Try to get a diverse customer base to protect yourself.

  • Excellent article. I have never thought of this “coincidence” as a ratio, but it seems to apply to almost everything I do.

    In my marketing, only a small percentage respond. Of those that respond, only a small percentage become clients. Of those that become clients, only a few become long-term clients.

    Even though I have a lot to do every day, I mainly concentrate my efforts on a few activities that yield the best results.

    Is it coincidence that all this seems to be around 80/20?

  • this is asking people to get lazier, sometimes you don’t get tochoose a job or stuff lik that….
    however good article overall

  • […] absolutely have to get the most out of that time. It’s a well-known business strategy called the 80/20 rule (Pareto principle) which holds that 20% of your work accounts for 80% of the benefits reaped from it. If you put in […]

  • […] Out of these simple observations the Pareto Principle was born.  (a.k.a. – the 80-20 Rule) […]

  • just learned how to improve my life…!
    Thanks to u..!

  • saluk

    I’ve heard this rule applied the other way around. It’s a bit more depressing I guess when looked at the other way: If 80% of the output takes 20% of the work, 20% of the output takes 80% of the work. You can’t just factor out that 80% most of the time. Think of a symphony. Yes, 80% of the song may be whole notes or really easy stuff. But then you have that solo in the middle. You have to rehearse and rehearse and rehearse to get that solo right, even if the rest of it you barely have to look at. If you are working on a business project, it will not be difficult to be “almost” finished, but getting from almost finished to finished will be a major push. And that last 20% (80% of the effort) is difficult to outsource.

    • Awesome article. I think it is all relative to the law of attraction. If money makes you happy, then getting happy first will eventually attract money into your life. Staying mostly, unhappy, in unfulfilling jobs, only attracts more unhappiness.

    • Hong Anh Vu

      I really enjoyed this article and thought it is very inspiring. I think I feel inspired because it was written by someone very successful working on his own. The “working on his own” part deserves a special mention here, because it is not easy to figure out a functional and effective structure on one’s own and to follow it through. For someone to have figured out his 80/20 rule, he must have spent tons of time doing things the 20/80 rule. Then there are times when we realize that we have no choice but accept the exceptions, doing the parts that we like less and feel less productive about. So while I really like the theory of the 80/20 rule, I think it is important for us to maintain some level of flexibility so we do not turn into unpleasant human beings when encountered the unexpected.

  • […] up on the 80/20 rule, and Parkinson’s Law, and apply them to your […]

  • […] Starak has written a great blog in 2006 about the 80/20 rule and there is great info on other websites….bottom line […]

  • […] 80% of things that don’t lead directly to our goals and ignore the 20% of tasks that do.  Yaro Starak describes this 8o/20 rule in the following […]

  • L. M.

    I guess looking at the 80 20 rule can work for you if you use it in a way that can motivate others. I worked for a company where we used the 80 20 rule in a way that would give us a positive outlook but where you have to do your part. 80% of what is going to happen will happen with you or without you. but if you apply that other 20% with your effort, you will make the difference. A theory is a theory, but how do you approach it is the difference.

  • I’ve never analysed 80-20 principle in output-input context. This article opened a new facet to me. Thanks.

    • This 80/20 rule have opened up my thoughts on my concept of G.O.A.L.S.+E.FF.O.R.T. when it comes to education/experience. Our present are wrapped up in our past, in our education and experiences. We use these components of our lives to propel us into the future. We have to let the pass be our guide for the future. My rational is that people dwell on the bad things is our past. If they focus on the 20 percent of the good education and experience it will make the present and future much brighter.

  • […] the 80/ 20 principle to all you do, recognizing your POWER HABITS and using those to get most out of your […]

  • […] What Is The 80/20 Rule And Why It Will Change Your Life […]

  • Josette Portelli

    I am trying to understand more about the 80/20 rule to try to experience it in my life. I work as a Theatre site guide and up to date I never had complaints. When I finish the history of where I work I am always being complimented by my guests. Sometimes I get the following compliments: Are you a Theatre historian or are you an Artist yourself?? All my guests seem to be satisfied with what I explain to them. Where does the 80/20 rule come in my type of work??

    • It comes in to play when you decide what you get enjoyment from or if you have any problems. You then need to narrow down so you do more of what you enjoy, or more of the actions needed to solve your problems. In your case perhaps you were not making enough money from being a theatre guide but you loved it, so you can use the 80/20 rule to determine how you can spend more time at the theatre and less time doing what you don’t like.

  • […] (if so, then we would all fail), but it’s the direction you should be aiming for. I think Pareto’s 80/20 Principle applies here. Have you heard of this? The basic idea is that 80% of your outcomes come from 20% of […]

  • esp

    This is truly stunning, not only does it explain why I have failed in both love and money and had no reason to beleive it was going to change any time soon(I was closer to 95% effort/5% outcome), but it also explains another observation I have made about people who tend to get very wealthy and leave all of humanity wealthier in the process (everyone person who fit that discription had a tendency to reduce the amount of effort needed in some part of life (going back to the domestication of plants, and more than likely before then too)).

    Now that I know what the 80/20 rule is I can’t wait to sucessfully apply it.

  • K.P.Maimane

    You have me thinking seriously about everything. Shit, man. This hits home … Hard!

  • […] tried and true. I’m a big believer of Pareto’s Principle, what many of you know as The 80-20 Rule. I’m hoping that even if I were to grasp only 20% of today’s common marketing […]

  • Wow thanks for he 80/20 perspective. Have a great day on purpose!

  • Another great article. I especially like what you said about inputs vs outputs. I have a lot of things that I like to do, but the things that have an output are also things that I have used to create an income.

    It’s also interesting how when I was working less and doing something I was passionate about how much happier I was. Now I’m working 40 hours a week, and while I enjoy the money, it’s not something I’m passionate about. I also have less time for my passions, which is a big problem.

    Definitely some food for thought. I think it’s time for a few big changes to be made.

  • Sports betting entrepreneur here, I just want to say what a pleasure it is to read your articles. They’re very helpful and offer good advice. Most importantly, they’re describing the problems us online entrepreneurs are facing, and are offering solutions. That’s priceless.

  • One of my part time employers preached this to me during my time in University. I believe this principle ultimately changed my life. I make a list at the start of each week listing the five most important things I have to get done for the coming week.

    Maybe an older piece Yaro, but this is definitely a ‘Pillar” piece!

    • I commend you on sticking to it.I know what to do, but I slip in and out of doing it. I developed a concept with self organizing being part of the foundation and I have yet to firmly stick to it. Good job on sticking to it.

  • It’s kind of ironic that you mentioned becoming a successful pianist. I’ve been trying to make money online so that I can focus on my music. However, your article makes it sound like I should focus on my music first. I really love piano, and I’ve been playing since I was 7 years old.

    I guess I should be asking myself, do I focus on getting what I want, or do I dwell on the fact that it still hasn’t arrived yet. I think a lot can be said about the 80/20 rule. In a way, it is sort of like the law of attraction. You focus on the feeling you will have when you succeed, and it will come to you. But, if you focus on the feeling of “not getting it” you will never succeed.

    The most important things in life are things that we don’t need money to receive. Maybe I should just focus on making music and let my internet business build in the background. Sounds good to me.

  • Thought provoking article and a good one to force a reassessment of energy and focus. As I continue to work towards moving away from being employed with set hours to working on projects I enjoy with flexible hours the 80/20 rule is another good aid in decision making.

  • patrick

    i like the 80/20 rule because it has really helped me in my day to day tasks. and yes it real appears.

  • Yaro – Thank you for writing that, lo, these many years ago. While I’d read elsewhere everything you said, somehow your directness and clarity brought it home. This looks like it’s going to be a game-changer for me – permission to focus on the love, not the money. Thank you.

  • Edes

    I have always taken the 80/20 rule with a wave of the hand. After discussing with a friend and reading this article, I have come to realise the importance of ‘the vital few’. It is time I got proactive with my passion

  • Earl A. Wash

    This fantastic article reminds me much of another “80/20” report around 1970. A survey was made of all the U.S.A. Hospitals which concluded that if there were no murders, suicides, drunk driving, irresponsible driving, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, obesity, etc., the hospitals would have had an 80% vacancy rate. From that it was further declared that 80% of what happens to us is 100% us. The choice is indeed ours. I am looking forward to reading more of these uplifting articles. Lead on, Yaro.

  • Lou

    I have long believed in the 80/20 rule. When doing anything (weeding, washing the car, tidying my office etc.) I spend 20% of my time doing 80% of the job at hand. I then decide whether the last 20% of the task is worth the extra 80% of my time. Even if I have to re-weed, re-wash or re-tidy again in a sorter time period (maybe 80%) it will still be only 20% of my time.
    In other words I can get 5 tasks completed to 80% as apposed to 1 task at 100%.
    But if the purpose of the task is to be 100% (surgery, ones art, safe driving etc come to mind) then yes one must put in 100%
    Do I have the right end of the stick?

  • […] significant issues can be identified by applying Pareto Analysesand the Pareto Principle (the 80/20 rule). Once the issues to be focused on are identified, apply Root Cause Analyses (RCA) to understand […]

  • This explains why I can enjoy my relationships and extracurriculars more and study less but still get grades akin to my class mates who unhappily “study” all day at our university.
    Output increases vitality and I can find balance more easily when I know my true passions.

  • Matt UK

    What you probably don’t know is that the Author of the 80/20 series of books, Richard Koch, is not “just another writer”, He’s also a business strategist, entrepreneur and investor and currently worth 100 Million Pounds (UK). That’s about $160 Million Dollars (USA).

    He started a Strategy company (with 2 partners) called LEK which he sold out of for millions, He did 2 successful turnaronds – Filofax and Plymouth Gin, he invested in a startup restaurant chain called Belgo which he sold on to Luke Johnson, a UK restaurant Entrepreneur and he invested in Betfair, an online gambling site which took off like a rocket.

    He practices what he preaches in his books. He’s a very very clever man. Now have a read of his books and learn from them. It’s all in these 3:-

    The Star Principle – On starting the RIGHT business. Pure gold.
    80/20 Living
    80/20 Individual

  • […] What does that mean to you or i? Well it means we have to try new things, do things differntly, you wont be successful all the time, this is ok, but you will find an idea that will give you a big return and here’s where you bring in the 80/20 rule. […]

  • Lenin


    I stumbled on this post coincedentaly while search for another topic regarding ratios. Even though I knew it wasn’t the precise match for the information I had originally set out to find, I felt compelled to read it in it’s entirety.

    The concept of the 80/20 rule helped answer a philosophical kunundrum I’d been struggling with for quite sometime. I have no quarrels about the things I am passionate about; problem was, and is, finding the balance in life to give these outlets their beneficial share.

    Thank you for the post. In the next few days, weeks, I will apply some discipline with this thought process in mind. If not the end all, be all, I believe it will serve as great springboard.

    Thanks again,


    • You are most welcome Lenin. Even though this post is years old now it continues to attract a new audience who find value in it, which is fantastic. Thanks for your feedback and good luck with your own 80/20 application.

    • Metogbe Houessou

      Fantastic!!! Your great mental input in explaining step by step the 80/20 Rule is very awesome. I really admired your thoughtfulness in making this theory vivid. It really helps a lot for anyone who put on a modern thinking hat and is willing to follow the pathway of long run happiness. Go green Yaro!!!

  • […] on those 20% of things that give the 80% of results. Haven’t heard of the 80/20 rule? Well, read about it here, it makes a lot of […]

  • […] cognitive biases to significantly improve our rationality. My guess is that some kind of Pareto or ’80-20′ principle applies, in which case a minority of our biases are doing most of the damage. We just have to work […]

  • Yaro,

    Thank you for such an detailed explanation on the concept I am currently trying to apply to my business life and personal… I will report my findings back here if you don’t mind thanks once again.

  • Metogbe Houessou

    I really enjoy this attempt to explicate the 80/20 rule which l learned from the. famous movie ” Why did I get married?”. I am so excited to deepen my understanding on this rule via your intelligent explanations as well as your imposing illustrations that are really helpful to master the idea. From my perspective, the 80/20 rule is the ultimate pathway to attain a successful life.

  • Wow. I appreciate this article. I truly believe it and have been trying to live it and teach it myself. Good stuff here. I apply this in my day J.O.B. as well as my part-time passion. Life changing.

  • […] I had my own business, experience taught me a lot about leverage, as did concepts like the 80/20 Rule. Yet despite my growing knowledge I still felt I hadn’t truly been able to apply […]

  • […] As Yaro Starak points out in his blog post on the 80/20 Rule and Why It Will Change Your Life: […]

  • Muzammil

    Wow…. It is great to read. He clearly explained the concept of 80/20. Really i enjoyed this article and will apply in my personal life to achieve my 80/20. Thanks for nice article.

  • Ed

    Great post….7 years running….Thanks, you’ve removed the cobwebs to the 80/20 concept (for me, anyway). This can now be applied to my daily life to remove the remaining goblins running amuck in my head.

  • […] is a great answer to an important question, which really backs up many of the principles like the 80/20 Rule and Theory of […]

  • […] 80/20 rule and how to be more efficient in other areas of your […]

  • […] As shown in the image below, visitors that have previously interacted with your site have a much higher chance of purchase when compared to new, first time visitors. By re-marketing to previous visitors, conversions will not only increase, but you will be able to spend less resources to get more conversions (The 80/20 rule). […]

  • […] As shown in the image below, visitors that have previously interacted with your site have a much higher chance of purchase when compared to new, first time visitors. By re-marketing to previous visitors, conversions will not only increase, but you will be able to spend less resources to get more conversions (The 80/20 rule). […]

  • […] end of the presentation I covered some of the key concepts that have led to my success, like the 80/20 rule, leverage, strength analysis and business model selection. After that I take questions from the […]

  • Adrienne

    Thank you Yaro. You have written one of the best and most useful articles I have read in years. It has clarified a lot for me, and really helped me re find my focus. Cheers A

  • […] believe them. It should be noted that these groups make up 20 percent of the population as per the 80/20 rule where 20 percent of individuals tend to do 80 percent of the work. This part of the book resonated […]

  • […] then I didn’t have the wisdom of concepts like the 80/20 Rule, or all the advice on outsourcing, or systems like we do today. I had read the […]

  • […] Follow the Pareto principle. The Pareto principle, named after the Italian engineer, sociologist, economist, political scientist, and philosopher Vilfredo Pareto, is more well known as ‘The 80/20 Principle’. […]

  • […] Why will this change your life? […]

  • […] working long hours means that you are also producing more work. Have you ever heard about the 80:20 rule? It’s the principle that 80% of the results are achieved with 20% of the […]

  • […] In their weekly recap, Walter explains his concept of “Ninja” coding, a tool of productivity to focus solely on the most important things and ignore anything else. More about the significance of this idea can be read on Entrepreneur’s Journey at The 80/20 Rule And Why It Will Change Your Life. […]

  • […] only love cheat day, I look forward to it!  The main motivators behind my cheat days are due to “Pareto’s 80/20 rule” and “Slow-carb dieting.”When we look at Pareto’s rule, we begin to see that 80% of […]

  • […] the 80/20 rule in […]

  • […] to Pareto’s principle, just 20% of what you do accounts for 80% of your overall results.  By making sure that your […]

  • […] riding the Google AdWords trend (you may have noticed he has repositioned himself somewhat to the 80/20 Rule, a more fundamental concept, and not a technology tool that is […]

  • […] REASON: After all the freedom of college / university, the last thing you want to do is get sucked into a dead end 9 to 5 job. Tim Ferriss breaks down how to join the ‘New Rich’ and turn your passion into an automated business. Even if you’re not looking to become an entrepreneur,  this book is a great blue print for learning how to live more by doing less, better. […]

  • […] you will find is there traffic sources follow an 80/20 power curve. This means that 80% of their traffic comes from 20% of the overall sources of traffic they have. […]

  • tomer

    how do I find out who are my 20% customers that provide me 80% of profit??

    its confusing me…


    • Do you have a customer database? Then just see who spends the most. That’s the simplest answer!


  • […] with the big trend on outsourcing tasks that are not core for your business/life success. It also goes along with the “do what you love- follow your passion” philosophy, that may not turn to be a […]

  • […] simple rule of the thumb, that all entrepreneurs should strive towards, is the 80/20 rule. This rule is based on the fact that you’re receiving 80 percent of your revenue from 20 percent […]

  • […] based on the ‘Minimum Effective Dose’ principle Tim Ferriss teaches, and influenced by Pareto’s 80/20 rule. I believe that you will get 80% of the benefit from 20% of your activities. This again comes back […]

  • […] What Is The 80/20 Rule And Why It Will Change Your Life, a free article by Yaro Starak. Definitely c… […]

  • […] What is the 80/20 Rule and Why It Will Change Your Life […]

  • […] what you just did in the exercise above was use the 80/20 Rule.  In case you’re not familiar with this concept, it’s a widely accepted theory that states […]

  • Yaro,

    I love 80:20 and your article is full of practical advice especially for people stuck in a job who want to follow their passion.


  • Hi Yaro

    I really like your detailed description of the different areas where the 80/20 rule can apply. To me the 80/20 rule i much more than just a concept, but it can really be a definition of mindset.

    I have written a short post about the 80/20 rule in relations to time management myself. One of my biggest points is that 80% is perceived differently by different persons, which can challenge the mindset of people who strive to be “perfect”:

    Best Regards,
    Claus N.

  • I like the way the rule(80/20) has been unpacked with solid practical examples. Now I need to concentrate on activities that are congruent with my values and at the same time creating wealth for myself and others.

    Thank you Yaro.

  • amar

    this was an enlightening article on the pareto principle. class, liked it very much.

  • Saeed Spicher

    Can we say if we work 3 hours with full concentration and devotion rather than 8 hours a day. Does this comes in 80/20 rule ?

  • Shaun Laflamme

    I’ve never heard of the 80/20 rule but I really enjoyed reading this not a whole lot has work for me in the past so I’m willing to try something new maybe this is my ticket to fulfillment

  • […] This way you would have a basic idea of the skill you are aiming to acquire. This is where the 80/20 principle comes in, which states that “80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes”. This is also […]

  • Yosh! That’s 80/20 rule better than I tought. Now, I just focus my passion to get 80% success. Thanks bos!

  • zoe

    I love this post, thank you… Im currently trying to set up my own online blog to teach people how to live their dreams too!! This is very inspiring – thanks again!!

  • aron

    excellent, the simple things in life are always the best!

  • I enjoyed reading your article, it is very nice. I like the 80/20 rule of putting less input and more output to change your life.

  • We hadn’t thought of our website in terms like you suggest until we recently got a new marketing consultant, who analyses everything and constantly tells us about the importance of balance on the site and that, in an increasingly sophisticated world, visitors will notice everything, and pick up the website vibe very very quickly. Your 80:20 rule is an excellent rule of thumb and ties in exactly with our new strategy and philosophy !

  • kenneth tice

    I used to practice art. In school my work was published. My father put it down and killed it for me. To please him I got a day job instead of a scholarship. I lived with famous artists and had a high probability for sucess. My father destroyed it all with his mere proficiency at what he did for a living. I could have learned so much about my passion and would have achieved greatness.

  • Funny how about only about 1% of the world’s population knows about the 80/20 rule. Imagine if we boosted that number to 20%? Looking forward to that mission with you. Thanks for sharing Yaro!

  • Of all of the advice I’ve ever heard/read on what to do during times of low motivation, this is by far the most helpful:
    “When I’m in this state it’s smarter for me to study – read books and ebooks – because I’m not capable of producing quality output, but taking input – learning – is a good use of time when I am not there 100 percent mentally”.
    Wow – when I waste time worrying over wasted time I feel overwhelmed and defeated. Thank you for this – it is so simple!

  • Right now, I’m at a stage where I’m trying to break through that barrier. My business is generating enough to outsource the work, but what are some clear ways of identifying what the 80/20 work is?
    I love your example about the blog article. I too write a lot, but didn’t think about how breaking down an article could have that affect. Most of my time is spent on the content itself, instead of putting more thought into the headline.

  • […] you’ve still got a day job. If you go all-in too quickly, you risk burning out. You can use the 80/20 rule to make more time for yourself. The rule is easy: 20% of your customers will make up 80% of your […]

  • max

    The 80/20 rules does not apply to all situations. Is just another way for someone to try to control a situation in which it does not apply. Laws of the Universe cannot be control by ones whom think they have knowledge of. Your world can only be determined by you

  • I love the 80/20 Rule, and I teach How To 80/20 Your Time to People because I believe in it so much.

  • […] muscle growth may surprise even the most seasoned lifter. For example, you may be familiar with the 80/20 rule, which can be applied to many aspects of life. The rule dictates that 20% of the effort directed at […]

  • […] that marketers have come to trust over the years. Some you may have heard of, for instance, the 80/20 rule is a very […]

  • Richard Obideyi

    As I am reading through the article,this was an eyes opener for me personally. I heard about the rule in a business setting environment – but I admitted , I am ignorant of it until now. Thank you for your ingenious work.

  • Whooohh Thats 80/20 rule better than i tought. Thanks a lot for your sharing sir. i need a bit more step to going. Sorry for my english.

  • Hi Yaro,

    I’ve been on your website several times, and I can say that you have helped clear many things up for me during my entrepreneurial journey.

    Thank you for putting in the time to write these articles—they are very insightful and motivating!

    Respectfully yours,

    – Poyan

  • Hi Yaro thank you for such a great article I was never aware of this principle until a few years ago and once you realise you can see the pattern in your own life down to things like i use 20% of my clothes most of the time amongst over things, thanks for sharing really enjoyed the read.

  • Comfort

    Thanks a lot Yaro, it is getting clearer by the day on at least starting up with something not just consuming-my passions. Since encountering you online I find myself looking out for your posts on issues I want clearance and it truly gets clearer. Thanks for the abridged and lucid version of this concept.

  • Kirsys R.

    Best blog I’ve EVER read. I will print out and hang some of the things that struck me. I feel so much more confident now about living with the 80/20 rule. I’m 38 years old and I will make my life more joyfull and fulfilling!!!Thanks so much and Fod bless!

  • Jay

    Thank for this article. now its clearly on my mind the meaning of this 80/20 principle .. I heard 80/20 rules in some of my fb groups and always questioned in my mind and I tried to make a search in google and i found your blog and i read it very carefully .. and its clearly understand thank much this i can say that reading of this makes 20 percent input on my mind and 80 percent output in daily , now I can understand of what they say and additionally i can apply it in my daily routine .. thank yaro 🙂

    I read also your “how to become a blogge”

  • Spiff N. Ukekwe

    What a wonderful post Yaro. You’ve made the concept of 80/20 much easier to understand and applicable to real life situation.

  • Thanks for the details guide on 80/20 rule. I have been hearing it a lot on many different blogs and from mentors. Today I thought to learn about this rule and you’ve explained it in a pretty good manner with extra details that open my mind. From now onward I will focus on 80/20 rule in my daily activities and I am sure it will make my time more productive.

    Thanks again for the great article.

  • Kingshuk

    I particularly liked how you associated the 80/20 with inputs / outputs. Great blog !

  • Jenny

    I read this because I am frustrated over not being able to do the things I want to do and feel called to do because of physical disability. A friend , who also suffers physically, offered this advice. She said she concentrates on the doing the 20% she is able to do 100%. That resonated with me as I am striving for integrity and don’t want to use my weaknesses as an excuse for not doing the things I actually can if I would just focus on the hard things and choices that would allow me to succeed in what matters most. My 20% is not what I most would like or enjoy, but my integrity/ not being a hypocrite is what matters the most to me.

  • […] I were you, I would go a step further. I’ll apply 80/20 rule to all my digital assets (or rather liabilities) every three months, and keep only those which lead […]

  • […] effective way to determine where you should spend more time is the 80/20 rule. The 80/20 rule basically says that 80% of your results come from 20% of your […]

  • […] …then I recommend you head over to my business blog and read this – What Is The 80/20 Rule And Why It Will Change Your Life […]

  • […] Starak’s epic post about the 80/20 rule is a great example of evergreen content. He originally wrote this post more than ten years ago and […]

  • Hi Yaro,

    Great Stuff Bro!

    I came across this 80/20 rule by some blog which I don’t remember now, But it has changed the way how I work. If I talk about one of the examples, I use to focus on publishing content regularly newer thought about promoting it, then I came across this 80/20 rule of content promotion, and really this technique has changed the result of my work. As this is not the same 80/20 rule as above blog but it relates the concept so thought to share with you guys. Hope you will like it.

  • Great post. I’m motivated to try and use this to make my life more rewarding.If 80 of the effect comes from 20 percent of the input then I really need to work out what my best outcomes are and what leads to them. You have motivated me a lot today. Definitely, I am buying this book thanks.

  • Hey Yaro!

    Thanks for this great article. That’s right spending roughly 80% of the time on top-priority tasks and 20% on the rest will definitely make wonders.


  • HiYaro Starak, This is a very neat and point to point article for changing your life using 80/20 rule. I was actually working with different blogs from last 5 months and that’s why i couldn’t concentrate on any 1 niche. I’ll differently apply this rule to make my concentration and hard work for the right place.

    Thanks buddy for being motivation for us!

  • Hi Yaro,

    As I start my own blog (Digital Marketing Blog), I’m using the same method. But, I never thought about few points that you mention in your 80/20 rule. Thanks buddy for sharing your knowledge.

  • I love this rule.

  • Indeed an amazing post yaro will apply this 80/20 rule with my blog and will update you about the new happenings.

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