By in Wealth

“The Pareto Principle is a theory that states for many phenomena, 80% of the effects stem from 20% of the causes.”

The love of my life, El Carino is a tremendous success in his field. He has six books, countless publications, and an impressive job. When my cousin stopped by for a visit recently she said to El Carino, “You must work all the time.” We just smiled. His productivity stems from his brilliant use of the 80:20 rule. He is the most productive worker I’ve ever seen and embodies the Pareto Principle.


When you start a project, you usually get a good chunk done in the beginning, but as time goes on, your productivity diminishes. And the longer you stick at the task, the less productive you become.

Here’s another wrong turn. You check your email in the morning, next decide to delete the 1000 junk emails, followed by a visit to a few of your favorite web sites, and before you know it, two hours has gone by and you’ve got nothing to show for it.

The Pareto Principle suggests that you get 80% of the work done in 20% of the time. In this case, you just wasted 80% of your time on useless endeavors.


  • Work 25 minutes reviewing an article for publication.
  • Take a break and listen to some music.
  • Spend another 25 minutes revising one of his older books for the next edition.
  • Take a break and get a cup of coffee.
  • Complete a section of an on-line quiz for continuing education requirement.
  • Total time spent: 2 hours

Practice this strategy about 3 times per week on top of his regular job, and overtime he accomplishes an extraordinary amount of work! The working time was spent working only on high priority items.


Here’s where he has most highly accomplished folks beat! He has several hobbies and recreational activities. At night we watch a few hours of television. In fact, he reads his Entertainment Magazine to stay on top of the media offerings and plan our family’s fun television and movie watching. That way, we don’t miss anything good! On top of everything else he exercises, practices his hobbies, goes out to plays, and movies. He is as diligent about maximizing leisure time as he is about maximizing work time.


We all know that there are only so many hours in the day-so what gives? He can’t do all of this without giving something up? In fact, everything he does has a purpose; he values leisure time a lot and recognizes its importance.

El Carino doesn’t obsess over his work, he does it. He is not a perfectionist. He spends minimal time on unproductive housekeeping type chores. He gets ready for the day quickly! Everything doesn’t need to be perfectly arranged. El Carino avoids tasks that are unnecessary or unimportant.

In fact, he spends 80% of his time on the absolute most productive activities and devotes little time to activities which don’t pay dividends!


Those who achieve success, have a plan. Set your financial and personal goals. Spend your time on what matters. When you get distracted, refocus on the tasks you deem important. Hit a set back? Continue on with the tasks that will bring you success.

If you need to save more, then continue to cut back on unnecessary spending and divert more funds into your saving and investing accounts.

Trying to lose weight and you overeat one day; get back on task the next.

Let setbacks and road blocks motivate you. When El Carino has a rejection, he uses that to motivate him to move forward towards his goals.

He’s worked diligently towards his career goals his entire life and success has come from his persistence, hard work, and discipline.

Action Steps

Get a notebook and label it: “(your name) Personal Finance” and keep it by the computer. Use it for all of your personal finance thoughts, activities, and plans.

  • Get started on a project you have been putting off.
  • Take a break every 20 or 30 minutes.
  • Ask yourself whether your current activity is moving you forward.

What are your productivity secrets?

image credit; Luvn.De.Vu