Category Archives: The 80/20 Principle by Richard Koch

80/20 Approach to Time Management

“There is…no point in seeking marginal improvements in how we spend our time. We need to go back to the drawing board and overturn all our assumptions about time…There is no shortage of time. In fact, we are positively awash with it…And for the most talented individuals, it is often tiny amounts of time that make all the difference…The 80/20 Principle treats time as a friend, not an enemy…It is not shortage of time that should worry us, but the tendency for the majority of time to be spent in low-quality ways. Speeding up or being more ‘efficient’ with our use of time will not help us; indeed, such ways of thinking are more the problem than the solution.” (p. 149)

10 Golden Rules for Career Success with the 80/20 Principle

  1. “Specialize in a very small niche; develop a core skill
  2. “Choose a niche that you enjoy, where you can excel and stand a chance of becoming an acknowledged learner
  3. “Realize that knowledge is power
  4. “Identify your market and your core customers and serve them best
  5. “Identify where 20 percent of effort gives 80 percent of returns
  6. “Learn from the best
  7. “Become self-employed early in your career
  8. “Employ as many net value creators as possible
  9. “Use outside contractors for everything but your core skill
  10. “Use capital leverage” (p. 194)

Intelligent Laziness

Quoting General Von Manstein on the German Officer Corp, “There are only four types of officer. First, there are the lazy, stupid ones. Leave them alone, they do no harm…Second, there are the hard-working intelligent ones. They make excellent staff officers, ensuring that every detail is properly considered. Third, there are the hard-working stupid ones. These people are a menace and must be fired at once. They create irrelevant work for everybody. Finally, there are the intelligent lazy ones. They are suited for the highest office.” (p. 187)

Specializing in Your Career Brings Productivity

“…It is better to know a few things well, or preferably one thing exceptionally well, than it is to know many things superficially.

“Specialization is intrinsic to the 80/20 Principle. The reason that it operates….is that the productive fifth is much more specialized and suited to the task at hand than are the unproductive four-fifths.” (p. 195)

Success Lies on the Near Side of Failure

“The inspirationalists quote such worthies as T.J. Watson, who said that ‘success lies on the far side of failure.” My view is that normally failure lies on the far side of failure. Also, success lies on the near side of failure. You are already very successful at some things, and it matters not a whit if those things are very few in number.” (p. 174)

The Top 10 Highest-Value Uses of Time According to the 80/20 Principle

  1. “Things that advance your overall purpose in life
  2. “Things that you have always wanted to do
  3. “Things already in the 20/80 relationship of time to results
  4. “Innovative ways of doing things that promise to slash the time required and/or multiply the quality of results
  5. “Things other people tell you can’t be done
  6. “Things other people have done successfully in a different arena
  7. “Things that use your own creativity
  8. “Things that you can get other people to do for you with relatively little effort on your part
  9. “Anything with high-quality collaborators who have already transcended the 80/20 rule of time, who use time eccentrically and effectively
  10. “Things for which it is now or never.” (pp. 161-162)

80/20 Time Heresy

“The 80/20 Principle overturns conventional wisdom about time. The implications of 80/20 time analysis are quite different and, to those suffering from the conventional view of time, startlingly liberating…We need to go back to the drawing board and overturn all our assumptions about time. There is no shortage of time. In fact, we are positively awash with it. We only make good use of 20 percent of our time. And for the most talented individuals, it is often tiny amounts of time that make all the difference…The 80/20 Principle treats time as a friend, not an enemy…The 80/20 Principle says that we should act less. Action drives out thought. It is because we have so much time that we squander it. The most productive time on a project is usually the last 20 percent, simply because the work has to be completed before a deadline. Productivity on most projects could be doubled simply by halving the amount of time for their completion.” (pp. 148-149)