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The 80/20 Rule

In the marketplace most of us are familiar with the 80/20 rule which is to give free value-laden content to our readers 80 percent of the time, and ask for something in return 20 percent of the time.  “Something back in return” can be offering an affiliate link to a product or service, or asking readers to opt in to your email list or even just to take a survey you’ve created to ascertain what your readers think about a topic.

Being the curious sort, I wanted to find out where the heck this ratio came from in the first place.  While I’m not an academic, my digging into the annals of history and economics led to a most interesting discovery.  Maybe some of you are savvy enough to have researched this already, but to most people, like me, this will come as a bit of a surprise.

So here goes our history and economics lesson!

The 80/20 Rule was attributed to an Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto in 1906.  He was a pretty interesting guy.  Pareto was a critic of the Italian government’s economic policies.  He was a pacifist  and when Mussolini nominated him to a senate seat in 1923, he declined.  He did not agree with Mussolini’s support of an economy that he believed impoverished the “many” to serve “the few”.

Pareto was so passionate about this that he observed that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the people.  He further observed that 20% of pea pods in his garden contained 80% of the peas.  

So this is refererred by the term “Pareto Principle” or “Pareto Efficiency”  which in his observations state that roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.

Are you with me so far?

The “Pareto Principle” gives scientific validity to the premise that 20 percent effort can produce 80 percent of your results.  So it is important to spend more of your time and effort on the 20 percent of activity that will produce the greatest results.  So great, in fact, that it will bring you 80% of profit.

So my friends, work smartly and put 20 percent of your time into the activity that is going to generate 80 percent of your profit.

I was taking this rule out of proportion and was focusing almost purely on go-giving activities that would yield only minor profit.  Nothing wrong with that, but it is not results-oriented,  In the past few weeks, I have followed this mathematical concept and put my greatest energy into the 20 percent of activities that yield a far higher level of profitability.

How about you?  Do you find yourself spending most of your time answering your blog?  Syndicating like a crazy person?  Spending too much time on Facebook?

You all know by now I am a firm believer in the Social Media strategies, BUT…..now I am more mindful of balancing my communication efforts.  I’m engaging like I always do, but keeping mindful that a key amount of my day must go toward building a profitable business.  

It’s time to Rock and roll!


Donna Merrill
Donna is a well known blogger and creator of "Blogging Magic" - an intensive guide to blogging. "Blogging Magic" is for beginners who are trying to figure out how to bring their blogs to life with tons of visits, comments and social media interaction. It's even for advanced bloggers looking to reach new levels of authority and engagement with their audience.

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90 Responses to The 80/20 Rule

  1. Jimmie Barber February 18, 2013 at 2:05 pm #

    I find this article on the 80%/20% rule interesting. I am so glad that I have reached your site Donna to learn that you have taken the time
    to dig up something very important. For me being new to this whole blogging thing, and with all the other social media tools
    and things we have at our finger tips, if a person is not careful, you could wind up spending to much time with it. These last few days of being a part of the B3 spreadsheet an all has really provided me with a load of information. After learning this from your blog Donna, I am going to try and limit myself the time I spend in front of a computer. It’s really crazy to spend 80% of my breathing time doing this, and especially if only 20% of the time spent is when you are the most profitable. Meaning 20% brings more for my blog and bussiness activity than the 80%. Thanks again Donna, you have some very interesting material here!

  2. Joe S. August 30, 2012 at 4:11 pm #

    To much time on Facebook??? Is there is such a thing? Man, I want my time back. I had to leave groups, as if it was their fault I was on the site for hours a day. I was 90/10 the wrong way!
    Joe S. recently posted..Why you need to pay attention to the details of your detail.My Profile

    • Donna Merrill August 31, 2012 at 1:37 pm #

      ha ha Joe!

      Groups are great if they are effective. Spending time with FB groups is great as long as they are working toward your benefit.

      The most effective time I spend on Face book is through adds. lol

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Stop ComplainingMy Profile

  3. Steven Papas August 30, 2012 at 5:50 am #

    Hi Donna ,
    I agree with the 80/20 rule it a principle that i think works i usually give priority to the main thing this has always helped me achieve allot i now have a principle that i can apply thanks for sharing this very effective rule.
    Steven Papas recently posted..Ten Tips For iPhone Application DevelopmentMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill August 31, 2012 at 1:36 pm #

      Thanks Steven

      Good to see that you apply this principle. That is one of the main keys to success!

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Stop ComplainingMy Profile

  4. Shiwangi peswani August 28, 2012 at 11:46 am #

    Hey Donna, excellent post and I am amazed to read this. Honestly speaking I have never heard about 80/20 concept. thanx a ton to share this or should I thanks the post from where I followed you. 🙂
    Shiwangi peswani recently posted..Facebook Scam – Help Me To Spread This WarningMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill August 28, 2012 at 9:37 pm #

      Hi Shiwangi

      Thank you for visiting!

      I am so glad to hear that you have learned something from this post!

      Be blessed,
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Stop ComplainingMy Profile

  5. Lesly Federici
    August 25, 2012 at 9:01 pm #

    Hi Donna,
    I must confess, I have not done this. In fact I was trying to understand it… LOL! Loved the history lesson too. I enjoy history a lot and how things come about (as you can tell from my blog)Always a pleasure to visit!
    Lesly Federici recently posted..Be Part of the Solution to A Healthier NationMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill August 27, 2012 at 12:22 am #

      Hi Lesly,

      What it comes down to is that you need to give 80 percent of your time to things that make you money. The 20 percent is on social media, etc.

      But when writing we need to give 80 percent good content and 20 percent sales pitch.

      Got it?

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Stop ComplainingMy Profile

  6. Steve Vernon July 18, 2012 at 4:16 pm #

    Thanks for the historical background on this, Donna. Isn’t it amazing how one principle applies to so many aspects of life. You find it everywhere…in the work place, in non-profit organizations (20% of the people tend to do 80% of the work), and so on and so on, ad infinitum! You’re absolutely right…we need to learn to put 80% of our efforts into what produces the greatest result.

    • Donna Merrill July 19, 2012 at 3:29 am #

      Thanks Steve,

      That is exactly what I’m doing! I take breaks to answer my blog and go right back to my focus on marketing.

      Thanks for coming by,
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Law Of Attraction Part 2My Profile

  7. Ken Kinstle July 17, 2012 at 6:13 pm #

    Donna, thanks for the great post, balancing my time activities is tough. I am easily distracted by social media. Thanks for the reminder and tips..

    • Donna Merrill July 18, 2012 at 3:56 pm #

      Hi Ken,

      Yes, Social Media is something that distracts most people. This is why it is important to focus more time on ways to run your business rather than socializing.

      I am a great fan of Social Media, but limit time on the platforms.

      Thanks for visiting,
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Law Of Attraction Part 2My Profile

  8. Steve-Personal Success Factors July 13, 2012 at 2:36 am #

    I love Pareto! He’s saved my behind a number of times 🙂 Recently, while on vacation, I used this principle to figure out what to do on what night of the week with the limited time I have to put into my internet marketing efforts (I work 1.5 jobs 🙂 It really helps to list all our activities, while looking at our top goals/objectives, and then pick out the things that make the biggest difference. For example, I spent 45 minutes before coming to your blog working on research for my next product I’ll be creating by Christmas 🙂
    Steve-Personal Success Factors recently posted..How To Build Your Personal LeadershipMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill July 18, 2012 at 3:41 pm #

      Awesome Steve!

      Yes, we do need to map out our time. I like how you put this rule into effect on your vacation. I find myself doing stuff like that all the time.

      Since I began Internet Marketing, my view on life are through those eyes.
      It’s funny sometimes.

      Don’t forget to let me know about your product when it comes out!

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Law Of Attraction Part 2My Profile

  9. Dewane Mutunga July 9, 2012 at 4:49 am #

    I’ve been making it a point to pinpoint those maybe one or two activities that yield the greatest results and focus the majority of my time on them. As soon as I made a conscious decision to do so, I began to see an improvement in my business.

    It’s really easy for people to get caught up in a bunch of meaningless activities. The key is having laser focus and a set schedule that you are disciplined enough to stick to.

    • Donna Merrill July 14, 2012 at 5:07 pm #

      Dewane, That Lazer Focus is the reason why we are here. It is easy to get lost, but that is time that we can be focusing on our outcome of our business.

      I see too many people getting caught up with meaningless activities and new shinny objects that lead them away from their end result.

      Thanks for stopping by,
      Donna Merrill recently posted..The Law Of Attraction – How It Worked For Me!My Profile

  10. Kristen July 9, 2012 at 3:30 am #

    Thanks for your interesting post. I have seen several posts on the 80/20 principle, but it seems like it was used to explain just about everything that you could tack either 80 or 20 to. It is interesting that you researched it and it is cool to hear the history behind it. It is also interesting as it really is an estimate, instead of say exact numbers like 79 and 21.
    Kristen recently posted..Does Blogging Help New Mothers Relieve Stress? What the Research Actually ShowsMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill July 14, 2012 at 5:00 pm #

      Thanks Kristen,

      I kept hearing about that 80/20 number and I just had to find out where that information was coming from. I usually do this kind of thing because I don’t take things on hear say. lol

      I appreciate your comment,
      Donna Merrill recently posted..The Law Of Attraction – How It Worked For Me!My Profile

  11. Clint Butler July 9, 2012 at 2:50 am #

    Great post Donna (doesn’t that sound cliche lol) I have never takes the time to look it before but its great your curious enough for all of us. I guess the next step is to figure out what that 20% is that we need to focus on.

  12. Sonia July 8, 2012 at 3:11 am #

    This was very interesting because I always hear, “work smarter and not harder” from a few sites I have been reading lately. Time is either on your side or not, but it is how you balance out everything too.

    I work during the day and when I get home, I have a few hours to spend with my family, have dinner, do some chores and go to bed. I find myself up late nights commenting, reading and working on my blog when my house is quiet. Does it yield the results I want? Yes, but I know I can do it more effectively too.

    Now, I don’t want to sound like a robot either, so I try and do most things that works with my work schedule and I sneak in throughout the day to respond to things, but there are times when I can’t. Eventually I will get there. Great post Donna.
    Sonia recently posted..How You Drive Determines if You’re A Follower or LeaderMy Profile

  13. Steve Nicholas July 5, 2012 at 6:23 am #

    Great post, Donna! This is definitely something that I have trouble with myself. I realized for a while that I probably didn’t even have 10% of my blog devoted to asking for help. Sometimes, we just have to trust that we are doing something that helps people, and that the ways that we are trying to help people can also result in compensation for us, so we can continue to keep going and help more people.
    Steve Nicholas recently posted..How Are You Uniquely Qualified?My Profile

  14. Jupiter Jim July 4, 2012 at 6:38 am #


    Such an EXCELLENT article! Very few people know the history of the “80/20” rule or what it actually means.

    Another way to explain it with another simple example is that if You put in 10 hours work to achieve a project, then 20% of those 10 hours (which is 2 hours) actually produce MOST (that is 80%) of the results.

    Another example would be: you study two hours for a test in school and you would get say about an 80% grade or a B. To get an A on that same test you would have to study about 8 more hours.

    And as it applies to our business, as you said, only about 20% of our efforts generally generate the income. What we need to do, as small and home-based business owners, to survive is to figure out what 20% of our efforts puts more money into our bank account in the immediate or near future — and then do more of that money-making activity and less of the NON-money-making activities (like going to Office Depot for ink refills and printing paper in the middle of the workday! LOL).

    Thanks for sharing!

    ~ Jupiter Jim

    • Donna Merrill July 5, 2012 at 4:37 am #

      AWESOME comment Jim.

      Thanks for your input. My Non-making activities are important also. It is a great point to bring up because we are not working machines lol.

      We do need time to exercise, cook, play with our dogs, etc. I like to take time in the middle of the day to do such things. Things that are for ME! I do have a group once a week I go to for expanding my “mindset” I also take Monday afternoons for Acupuncture and then using the rest of that relaxing time to do some inner work.

      I feel that all this is just as important as production.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..The 80/20 RuleMy Profile

  15. Janelle McLeod July 3, 2012 at 8:01 pm #


    Oh my!!! Thanks so much! One again, you are RIGHT ON POINT! I LOVE reading your articles. You inspire me and I so look forward to (always) reading the next… Thanks again and blessings to you..

    Janelle M.

  16. Bob Clarke July 3, 2012 at 6:39 pm #

    This is such a timely post for me, Donna…. I’ve found myself recently getting inundated with “busy” work.. which I define as mundane tasks that don’t make me money.

    So I’ve made a decision to Outsource what I can, minimize the rest and just concentrate on the 20% of my tasks that make me money.

    Of course, I won’t let my blog suffer… that’s my baby! 🙂
    Bob Clarke recently posted..No Posts Were Found!My Profile

    • Donna Merrill July 3, 2012 at 11:44 pm #

      That is a great thing Bob

      I recently hired a neighbor to handle different things but not my baby!

      It does get to a point where you need someone else to hire to take care of all “the other stuff”

      Good to hear about your success,
      Donna Merrill recently posted..The 80/20 RuleMy Profile

  17. Julieanne van Zyl July 3, 2012 at 8:34 am #

    Hi Donna, thanks for the history lesson, it was interesting:-) I think many of us, when we learn about attraction marketing or “educational based marketing”, we think we have to give most of the time. It’s another old saying “the more you give, the more you get”. But, when it comes to business, a lot of us take that saying too far also!

    I believe we have to give, but we also have to ask (to get sales).
    Julieanne van Zyl recently posted..MLM Blogging and Squeeze PagesMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill July 3, 2012 at 7:41 pm #

      Exactly Julieanne!

      I do believe in go-giving, but it cannot be 100% of that. Yes, in go giving there can be a process of engaging people. That is one part of the business.

      But we do need to focus on getting out there 20% of that time to sell.

      Just think, If we spent 80 percent of our time working on effectively processing that 20% sales margin. Our business would be more productive.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..The 80/20 RuleMy Profile

  18. Stacy July 2, 2012 at 11:09 pm #

    Hi Donna,

    I’ve heard the 80/20 rule explained in many different ways and for a while after I was first introduced to it I was very confused by it. I wish that I had come across your explanation back then! You explain it in a way that really makes sense!

    Not only does it make sense but it helps me to see where I need to make some changes in my own blogging. I spend entirely too much time on the part that isn’t profitable.

    Thank you!

    • Donna Merrill July 3, 2012 at 7:32 pm #

      Thank you Stacy

      I am glad that this helped out. We can not only spend too much time on social platforms, but also on our blogging and reciprocity.

      We need to create times in the day where we take little bites of this a few times during the day.

      Most importantly, we need to have our business plan laid out so well that we can actually “see” what the end result is. Then put our energy there and work our way backwards.
      Got it?

      Donna Merrill recently posted..The 80/20 RuleMy Profile

  19. Amrik July 2, 2012 at 3:53 pm #

    Awеѕоmе аrtісlе Dona. I thіnk іt іѕ аll rеlаtіvе tо thе lаw оf аttrасtіоn. If mоnеу mаkеѕ уоu hарру, thеn gеttіng hарру fіrѕt wіll еvеntuаllу аttrасt mоnеу іntо уоur lіfе. Stауіng mоѕtlу, unhарру, іn unfulfіllіng јоbѕ, оnlу аttrасtѕ mоrе unhарріnеѕѕ.

    • Donna Merrill July 3, 2012 at 11:41 pm #

      Thanks for the awesome Namaste quote Amrik!

      I like money as a means to a goal. Every day when I look at my computer, it doesn’t matter if it is 39 bucks or 3,900 bucks…it is the same happiness.

      I view money as an energy. The more we look at it that way the better.

      Thanks for your comment,
      Donna Merrill recently posted..The 80/20 RuleMy Profile

  20. Lynn Brown July 2, 2012 at 3:17 pm #

    This is a great way to share just how important it is to maintain that focus on the aspect of your business that brings you profit. Social media certainly can be a distraction and as you say Donna, must be managed appropriately.

    So I have my own rule which is the 30/30 rule! 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the afternoon is what I spend on social media. Then I have the rest of the day to focus on my business.

    I have heard this 80/20 rule thrown out there for just about anything, so I am glad Donna that your curiosity and research unearthed this rule, it was a good history lesson for the day!
    Lynn Brown recently posted..LinkedIn Connects Business People For SuccessMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill July 3, 2012 at 7:25 pm #

      Hi Lynn,

      I love your 30/30 Rule. More people should pay attention to that one! I do that myself too.

      I don’t allow myself to flounder on any of the Social Platforms for too long.

      I like to connect with people and engage them, but one doesn’t have to be on Facebook all the time to do so.

      Great suggestion!
      Donna Merrill recently posted..The 80/20 RuleMy Profile

  21. Kelvin Myles July 2, 2012 at 1:57 pm #

    Interesting article Donna. I’ve been aware of the 80/20 rule for many years and it applies on the internet just as much as it applies offline. You’ve also pointed out one of the many pitfalls of working online – the attraction of social media and it’s ability to seduce you away from more beneficial tasks. I look forwrad to reading more of your posts 🙂

    • Donna Merrill July 3, 2012 at 7:15 pm #

      Hi Kelvin,

      Thanks for visiting! Yes Social Media can get one carried away and loose track of time. It is a great base for business, but one must be disciplined with their time.

      Making connections and engaging with others is a very important part of business, BUT…we have to limit it.

      Thanks for stopping by,
      Donna Merrill recently posted..The 80/20 RuleMy Profile

  22. Lilach Bullock July 2, 2012 at 10:03 am #

    Awesome blog post Donna as always:)

    I love the 80-20 rule and try to use it in my business. I’ll be honest, sometimes I’m really disciplined and it works so well and I have a really productive day… and then there are the days when I get lost in my social media bubble!

    Thanks for this reminder though, it’s so important and hopefully will set me up for this week:)
    Lilach Bullock recently posted..Social Medias very own “War of the Roses”My Profile

    • Donna Merrill July 3, 2012 at 7:03 pm #

      Thank you Lilach

      Me too…sometimes it works and sometimes I just fall off the planet ha ha

      Maybe I wrote this for myself!

      Donna Merrill recently posted..The 80/20 RuleMy Profile

  23. Chris Burpee July 1, 2012 at 7:30 pm #

    Great summary of the 80/20 rule Donna, definitely some good advice to be taken within your post. Focusing most of our energy on the highest result producing activities is a powerful lesson in organization and time management, and can make a huge difference in productivity. Thx for sharing. 🙂
    Chris Burpee recently posted..EZ Money Method ReviewMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill July 2, 2012 at 4:46 am #

      Hi Chris,

      I’m all about productivity! I did have to learn the hard way, but it finally sunk in!

      Engagement is wonderful and I will never give that up. But it can take you only so far and it is a long process.

      We do need other methods for an end result. Whatever it is, we must spend more time on it so Business can be profitable.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..The 80/20 RuleMy Profile

  24. Raena Lynn July 1, 2012 at 6:48 pm #

    Hi Donna,

    I really enjoyed the history lesson! I found it so interesting when Vilfredo observed the 80% productivity of peas! It proves that the 80/20 rule is a natural phenomenon. I’ve been aware of the 80/20 rule ever since I can remember. It is all about balance and committing to yourself to productive activities. Beginner marketers have a difficult time with this rule because sometimes they cannot tell the difference between productive and non-productive activities. As I grew in my business, I was able to differentiate between the two. Once I got to that stage, I follow the 20/80 rule on a daily basis.

    Thanks for reminding us that we must be “more mindful of balancing communication efforts.” As always, a wonderful post!

    Raena Lynn
    Raena Lynn recently posted..Tribe Marketing Brings More Targeted, Peer-Referred TrafficMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill July 2, 2012 at 4:26 am #

      Hi Reana,

      I know that when I began I was blogging aimlessly. Now that I’m on my 90something blog, have taken lessons, and hired great coaches, I see the end to the means.

      I think that is one of the things we need to share with our newbie friends.

      Maybe I’ll make that my next post.


      PS I loved the peas…It all became a natural process in my mind when I read that part.
      Donna Merrill recently posted..The 80/20 RuleMy Profile

  25. William Veasley July 1, 2012 at 3:28 pm #

    Donna: Wow! I never knew who the 80/20 rule came from. Thanks for sharing this with me! I have heard of the rule many times, but no one has researched and wrote about where it came from. Pretty interesting imformation, though.
    I spend too much time on things that do not yeild enough much profit. It need to put more of my focus and time into the things that matter the most. I have been trying to better manage my time, but most of time time I end up off task (surfing the web, playing games or on social networks).
    William Veasley recently posted..The Pursuit of HappinessMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill July 2, 2012 at 4:23 am #

      Hi William

      If you want to be successful and make money on line, you need to manage your time.

      I know it is tempting to play games, get caught up in Facebook stuff and other social platforms.

      You must be discipline and create good content that will lead to your end product.

      Wishing you Well,
      Donna Merrill recently posted..The 80/20 RuleMy Profile

  26. Mayura
    June 30, 2012 at 6:46 pm #

    Hi Donna,

    As you were, I was not much familiar with how this rule originated 🙂 And I never search about it. So thanks for sharing the details and story behind 80/20 rule dear. You saved my time 😉

    From my blogging perspective, I was used to share each and every thing I find on my blog everyday. I thought content is what really matters. But it needs to be reached. Then I’ve created accounts on most of social channels to syndicate content. It helps to gain more readers on my blog. Anyway it was time consuming. However I’ve started experimenting about them and found what works for me out of them. Now I’m much focused in productive platforms and creating valuable content for my readers while improving my skills and being on my other work 🙂 As I think, timing always matters too and researching on fruitful strategies always work out 😉

    Have a great weekend Donna 🙂

    Mayura recently posted..How to Add a Contact Form to Your Website with ContactMeMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill July 2, 2012 at 4:44 am #

      Hi Mayura,

      Creating good content is important for our blogs. Also sending the information on all social platforms to reach our readers is a must.

      We can engage people that way and make connections.

      But..on the other hand, we must give our time to creating a sales funnel. One that we can profit on. It can be a Network Marketing Sales, An affiliate marketing, or a teaching site.

      Whatever it is, we have to spend time on our end results.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..The 80/20 RuleMy Profile

  27. Louise Myers Graphic Design June 30, 2012 at 5:58 pm #

    I’ve heard of the Pareto Principle, but I can’t quite understand your take on it: “put 20 percent of your time into the activity that is going to generate 80 percent of your profit.” What of the other 80% – is that to be spent on the stuff that doesn’t generate profit?
    Louise Myers Graphic Design recently posted..Creating Infographics in Minutes: A Dream Come True? [video]My Profile

    • Donna Merrill July 2, 2012 at 4:36 am #

      Hi Louise

      The rule goes like this: For your blog put 80% Content and 20% sales.

      Time wise: Put 80% into generating your profit and 20% on Social Platforms

      Hope this makes sense.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..The 80/20 RuleMy Profile

  28. Sue Price
    June 30, 2012 at 7:12 am #

    Hi Donna
    Great post and thank you for finding the origins of this rule. I have heard it quoted much for most of my life but did not know where it originated from.
    I know when we have had various businesses that 20% of our sales team produced 80% of the results and so on.
    I find working from home I am not as good at focusing on the things I should be focusing on as I was in other businesses. I am mindful of it and am following a plan these days.
    Great post and a message we all need to be mindful of.
    Thanks Donna

    Sue Price recently posted..Pro Blog Academy – Module 2My Profile

    • Donna Merrill July 1, 2012 at 1:36 am #

      Thanks Sue,

      When we are working for someone, it is all outlined for us. We don’t even have to give our production work a second thought.

      Being solopreneurs, it is a different story. We need to punch our own clock and that is very difficult to do.

      I was interested in the history of this rule because I use the term all the time. I asked myself “where the heck does this come from.” I found out and passed it along.

      Thanks for your comment,
      Donna Merrill recently posted..The 80/20 RuleMy Profile

  29. Barbara Charles
    June 30, 2012 at 12:15 am #

    Hi Donna. Such a good explanation. I know I do much of the same thing. Spending a lot of time but missing that ‘particular 20% necessary for generate income. Your article was eye opening and enlightening. Thanks for sharing. Keep it up. Love your articles. Informative, educational and thought provoking.

    Barbara Charles recently posted..Healthy Late Night SnacksMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill July 1, 2012 at 1:33 am #

      Hi Barbara,

      I am glad you enjoyed it. We do need to be reminded now and then to put our nose to the grind and work on our income producing part of the business.

      It is so easy to get mislead or interested in learning something during the day.

      Good to know it was thought provoking for you.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..The 80/20 RuleMy Profile

  30. Adrienne
    June 29, 2012 at 8:22 pm #

    Now that was a great lesson Donna, I didn’t know where that originated from either.

    I love that it goes that far back in history and you are so right. I’ve been guilty of performing the tasks I enjoy the most instead of the ones that will bring me the greatest results. I had a little talk with myself so that’s stopping from this point forward. I’m putting my plan in place as we speak. Hope to be able to share in some upcoming posts how this 80/20 rules really works.

    Thanks for this post, came along right at the right time for me.

    Enjoy your weekend young lady.

    Adrienne recently posted..How To Build Successful And Profitable RelationshipsMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill July 1, 2012 at 12:00 am #

      Hello my friend!

      I know all about your 80/20 rule from our conversations. I do however, see a turn around with you. You are blessed to have awesome coaches in your life that are helping you with this.

      I know you are on your way to true prosperity. You just have to know that you deserve it. He He

      Donna Merrill recently posted..The 80/20 RuleMy Profile

  31. Patricia Gozlan June 29, 2012 at 6:19 pm #

    Thank you so much Donna for reminding me of the Pareto principle!
    I know it, I have read so many times about it in the books of economics productivity and coaching and yet I always fall in the trap to work work work forgetting the precious lesson behind this.
    The same analogy applies with the metaphors of the stones, pebbles and sand.
    Each time I start a task I ask myself is this sand, a pebble or a stone?

    Thanks you again and best wishes!

    • Donna Merrill June 30, 2012 at 11:48 pm #

      Hi Patricia,

      I love the stone, pebble and sand analogy. I too have asked myself which one it is at times. You have just created a new picture in my mind and I thank you my friend.

      Sometimes we know so much, but forget to apply it.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..The 80/20 RuleMy Profile

    • William Veasley July 1, 2012 at 3:32 pm #

      Patricia: Hey, I have never heard of the stone, pebble and sand analogy. Does it go from most important to least important?

      I need to check up on my analogies because I want to be as productive as I can.
      William Veasley recently posted..Agree To DisagreeMy Profile

      • Donna Merrill July 2, 2012 at 4:15 am #

        Here is the proverb: I hope I can remember it well…
        There was once a teacher and a student. The teacher had three buckets. One filled with stone, One filled with pebbles and one filled with sand.
        One an empty bucket.

        The teacher said to the student fill the bucket with stones. The student did. The teacher asked “Is it filled” Student replied “Yes”

        Then the teacher said to the student: “pour the pebbles in” The student did and it filled all the gaps of the stone.

        The teacher asked “Is it full?” The student replied “Yes”

        The teacher then told him to fill it with a bucket of sand. Confused, the student did and it filled all the spaces between the stones and pebbles.

        The teacher said to the student “Now it is filled”

        Donna Merrill recently posted..The 80/20 RuleMy Profile

  32. Allie June 29, 2012 at 1:56 pm #


    I totally believe in this rule. 20/80 is used for balancing out anything. When the ration gets skewed too much then we fall out of balance.

    I’ll use myself as an example. Just last week I was tired of feeling like I was getting nowhere with my blog and business online. I didn’t have a good focus on what I could be doing and was scattered. I decided to plan out 4-5 hours each day. I strictly came up with a day to day plan and I use a timer for my activities. I have seen my productivity skyrocket.

    4-5 hours is about 20% of my day. The rest I do whatever I want. Actually, I use about 20% of my time also to dedicate to being healthy. Working out and eating right take up about 20% of my time each day.

    It is reassuring that we only need 20% of the time to be awesome at what we want but we need to remember that 20% needs to be very focused time sometimes. And yet with that same belief we should take 20% of our time and dedicate to what gives us pleasure and rest.

    Allie recently posted..4 Tips for Bloggers to Make the Most of PinterestMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill June 30, 2012 at 11:40 pm #

      Thanks Allie,
      I needed that today. I spend the past two days “resting” by just enjoying the summer weather. I live by a waterfall and as I sit on my front porch, laptop in had, I noticed vacationers walking to the falls with their bathing suits and cameras.

      I gave myself the most part of two days being a tourist with them. I do that 80/20 rule, but sometimes you just have to break all ties and be on vacation. Even if it is at home.

      Thanks for visiting,
      Donna Merrill recently posted..The 80/20 RuleMy Profile

  33. Mariella Lombardi June 29, 2012 at 9:51 am #

    Hi Donna,
    really interesting story there. I do think sometimes people tend to get caught up in unimportant details. Social media is important for promoting a business but it can become time consuming in my opinion.
    Mariella Lombardi recently posted..Forgive Me Glenn, For I Have Sinned…on My Luxury VacationMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill June 30, 2012 at 11:30 pm #

      Yes, Social Media CAN be time consuming unless you have a plan of sorts not to get too caught up in it.

      It is a great platform to make connections and engage people. Other than that, we do have to limit our time on it, or you get sucked into the black hole. he he

      Donna Merrill recently posted..The 80/20 RuleMy Profile

  34. Rebekah June 29, 2012 at 9:35 am #

    Thank you for sharing this, just this week I began to realize I am not as efficient as I ought to be and now I know there are some things I just have to do.
    Rebekah recently posted..DAY ONEMy Profile

  35. Simmeon June 28, 2012 at 9:29 pm #

    Greetings Donna,


    I remember you talking about this previously (I believe it was you), anyway since I read it It’s something that always stays on the forefront of my mind.

    “key amount of my day must go toward building a profitable business.”
    People can sometimes forget that this is our business and we need to eat and pay the bills. From now on I’ll be streamlining my movements, time is money right?

    • Donna Merrill June 28, 2012 at 11:33 pm #

      Yes Simmeon

      Key word is Money Honey! Focus on that and you will do well my friend.
      Donna Merrill recently posted..The 80/20 RuleMy Profile

  36. Buddy Hodges June 28, 2012 at 11:15 pm #

    Hi Donna,

    I have long been a fan of the Pareto Principle, the theory of “the vital few and the trivial many.” The 80/20 Rule gives me hope that if I can focus on the 20%, I can accomplish as much in the remaining 20% of my life as I did in the past, which was mostly wasted. It really is an exciting concept!

    I also support the Go-Giver attitude. I do believe that we waste most of our time, but i do not believe that giving or syndicating is necessarily wasted. I think of networking, building relationships and social capital, as “digging the well before I thirst.” When I need someone who “has my back,” it may be too late to make an “old friend.”

    My most profitable experience has been in offline network marketing, where the vital few hours I invested in prospecting and inviting consistently paid me an estimated $1000. per hour for years. During the past 5 or 6 years, I have invested many thousands of hours in learning about the internet and internet marketing, which has paid me less than $1. per hour. Fortunately the residual income from networking offline still supports my online hobby. Frequently, I ask myself the 80/20 question, and I wonder if i should invest a few more $1000. hours offline.
    Buddy Hodges recently posted..Engage and Interact to Build Relationships OnlineMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill June 28, 2012 at 11:42 pm #

      Reading this Buddy, makes me think that sticking to your offline business is a good thing to put 80% of your time on.

      The other 20% can be internet marketing.

      I know engagement is important, but when you have a good thing working for you, you need to pay attention to that.

      I have an offline business myself and that I pay attention to first and foremost because I had it for 30 years and still going strong. I do give that priority because I have valued clients.

      Internet marketing comes second in my life, although I am doing pretty well. But once I make a connection online or offline, that person becomes my priority.

      Thanks for your awesome comment,
      Donna Merrill recently posted..The 80/20 RuleMy Profile

  37. Shelley Alexander June 28, 2012 at 10:07 pm #

    Hi Donna, I really appreciated your analysis of the 80/20 rule. I totally agree with you that it is important to try to spend at least 20% of your time doing things that lead to making your business a success. Thanks for the insights!
    Shelley Alexander recently posted..Wild Salmon Vegetable Salad with Lemon Miso DressingMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill June 28, 2012 at 11:34 pm #

      Hey Shelley,

      I’m trying..guess that’s why I had to write it. Sometimes when we start digging for something it is the student in us that has to be the teacher.

      Guess that is what I did here for myself and others.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..The 80/20 RuleMy Profile

  38. Sylviane Nuccio June 28, 2012 at 9:00 pm #

    Very interesting point, Donna and thanks for doing this research for us. I am not a numbers person, but I really get it that. 80% of the profit can come from only 20% of the sources of such profit.

    This also made me think that if you spend only 20% of your time on let’s say on any given media platform you will really get some positive results as opposed to 80% of your time all over the place like a buzzing fly. Just a thought 🙂

    Thank you for your insights, Donna.
    Sylviane Nuccio recently posted..I Can’t Imagine Myself Rich, Help!My Profile

    • Donna Merrill June 28, 2012 at 11:31 pm #

      Absolutely Sylviane!

      We seem to put too much of our time on the social platforms, even if we are timing ourselves (as I have to do as a reminder he he). But when it comes to pushing out that 20% that will bring me back a return, sometimes I flake off.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..The 80/20 RuleMy Profile

  39. Carol Lynn June 28, 2012 at 6:57 pm #

    Nice history lesson, Donna! It’s funny I often wondered where that rule came from, too, but I never had the wherewithal to bother asking. I just figured it was some “social media guru” who got lucky and the idea caught on. it was fun to read about the actual history.

    And what an excellent point. It’s easy to get “bogged down” in daily activities that we take for granted, things we’re used to doing or we’re told to do. We go on autopilot but when you stop to think of it, there is probably a lot you can cut out of your day if you focused on the most profitable things.

    I try to keep those trivial things to a minimum and not put all my time and energy into something that’s turning out to be more of a pastime than a profit center. Social media is a great example of this because it’s easy to get lost in all the noise and think you’re doing something productive. You just proved the importance of paying attention to what you’re doing, setting goals and making time for things that matter!
    Carol Lynn recently posted..Email Marketing In The Dead Zone: Are You Training Your List To Ignore You?My Profile

    • Donna Merrill June 28, 2012 at 11:29 pm #

      Thanks Carol Lynn,

      I thought the 80/20 was some guru thing too, but it kept nagging at me. So I wrote this short history lesson!

      Yes, social media can make one feel productive. But I only go on it to check my groups, syndicate, and once a day browse to see if there is anything interesting that might come up.

      I guess my history lesson was a reinforcement for myself…I just need to finish things. My 20% productivity sometimes gets delayed.

      Thanks for stopping by
      Donna Merrill recently posted..The 80/20 RuleMy Profile

  40. Anne June 28, 2012 at 9:13 am #

    That makes perfect sense, come to think of it. I’ve lessened my time on Facebook significantly. I’ve got an Internet time table and try to stick to it. As soon as the 15 minutes allocated to Facebook is up, I log off. I allocate 30 minutes to answering blog comments.

    The problem is, I now have to work out which 20% yields more profit :-). Then I have to spend more time on that. Thanks for a very helpful blog post.
    Anne recently posted..Make Lemonade With Life’s LemonsMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill June 28, 2012 at 6:07 pm #

      I’m in the same boat Anne,

      But I’m splitting my time with two projects that will yield profit. It does take time in the production phase, but it will be worth it in the end result.

      Good going!

      Donna Merrill recently posted..The 80/20 RuleMy Profile

  41. Michael June 27, 2012 at 5:46 pm #

    I have always enjoyed hearing the back stories to where things come from, thank you for sharing this, Donna. Actually this one about 80/20 I have heard so much about in marketing it is almost like nobody really knew where it came from.

    The descriptions that numbers can provide for our world can be very interesting, and when they are like this set of numbers that you can apply over many differing situations, I find that extra fascinating. 😉
    Michael recently posted..Stick With Me HereMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill June 28, 2012 at 4:48 pm #

      Michael, you know that I live in an intuitive world. That being said, the other side of me always needs to know the why!

      This rule kept popping up and I had to know where it all started. Then, by reading further, my interest in this became sparked when applied to sociology. Fascinating stuff!

      Donna Merrill recently posted..The 80/20 RuleMy Profile

  42. Nicole Fende June 27, 2012 at 5:14 pm #

    I love the 80/20 rule. As a numbers geek (with a math degree to prove it), I give your summary two thumbs up. This rule can be applied over and over in your business. Simple yet effective.
    Nicole Fende recently posted..Email Lists – Profit is NOT by the NumbersMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill June 27, 2012 at 5:21 pm #

      Thanks Nicole,

      I am terrible with numbers! This is why I needed to do the research in the first place. I asked myself….where the heck does this 80/20 rule come from anyway.

      It was interesting digging up the information.

      Thanks for visiting,
      Donna Merrill recently posted..The 80/20 RuleMy Profile

  43. Oliver Tausend June 27, 2012 at 9:16 am #

    Hi Donna,

    thanks for sharing your insights. Well, when it comes to wealth distribution, some people are talking about the 90/10-rule or even 97/3-rule. Chances are technology “created” an even more uneven distribution. However, as with all personal development mantras or truths, we need to ask ourselves if they’re actually true or at least useful.

    Henry Ford said that 50 % of his marketing budget was wasted – he just didn’t know which 50 %.

    In a world of wild randomness, it’s impossible to tell the cause of an effect that takes place and that we see. As a matter of fact, a butterfly in the Straits of Singapore can cause a hurricane in Florida by adding a tiny amount of energy to “something” that’s brewing in the atmosphere and thus finally “creating” or completing the critical mass necessary to cause a hurricane thousands of miles away. But when the hurricane in Florida occurs, you won’t be able to tell what the actual cause was.

    In the world of marketing (especially online), you will never be able to truly tell what it was that caused your success or failure. The effect is success or failure – but what or who is the butterfly ?

    Hope you can follow me 🙂

    Take care


    • Donna Merrill June 27, 2012 at 2:31 pm #

      I sure can Oliver!

      It’s what I call the “Chaos Theory” I was once featured in a book “Poltergiests and the Paranormal” and explained this same thing!!! WoW a person that understands the reality of Chaos! I’m impressed Oliver.

      No one really knows the why when it comes down to it. In my world of psychic energy and also cause and effect, I live by variables. Follow me?

      But, for the sake of people following this 80/20 Rule, I thought it would be interesting to find out where it all came about.
      Donna Merrill recently posted..The 80/20 RuleMy Profile

  44. Steve June 27, 2012 at 9:38 am #

    Awesome Donna and I hope our new group members at Network Superstars have a look at this. Especially the part about syndicating like crazy and all that. Nothing wrong with it to a degree because you do see a return of people helping you out but don’t forget to put your hands to the plow so to speak most of time.

    Steve recently posted..Use Onlywire To Auto-Syndicate Content To Facebook GroupsMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill June 27, 2012 at 5:36 pm #

      Hi Steve,

      I am a syndicating maniac. I firmly believe in a quote by Mari Smith “Content is king, but engagement is queen and she rules the house”

      That being said, I do spend time engaging with many people. But I did get lost in all this chatter. I have two important projects that I’ve not been giving my 80% attention to.

      During my research of where the heck did these numbers come from, I learned a little lesson. I know that in email marketing we give 80 percent content and 20 percent sales.

      When it comes to engagement, I was slacking off to put 80 percent of my time to that. I realized that I need to be more productive and finish my projects.

      So I’m re-arranging my time issues.

      Although, If you read Oliver’s statement there is that Chaos theory ha ha

      Good connecting with you.
      Donna Merrill recently posted..The 80/20 RuleMy Profile

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