Be Efficient OR Be Effective

Well… you get one life, and it is a precious life. So you should better spend it in the best way, to achieve the best results , shouldn’t you ?

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Social scientists , and productivity experts , often suggest that you should focus on being effective rather than being efficient !!

Efficiency is about getting more things done.
Effectiveness is about getting the right things done.

In other words .. Be productive and do right things, and no need to do all things you can do !!

How to decide if this matter is important or time-wasting thing ? We recommend using the rule named 80/20 !!

What is the 80/20 rule ?

The first scientist to discuss this principle was “Vilfredo Federico Damaso Pareto”, who had major contributions in social sciences & economics while living in Italy between 1848 – 1923. He stated this rule in 1906 , after noticing that 80% of Italy’s wealth & lands is held with 20% of the country’s population, and from there he started the thinking !!

Vilfredo Pareto 1872. Courtesy of WikiPedia Site.

Pareto started studying land and wealth distribution in other countries as well, and found the results nearly match what is in Italy. He made his thoughts after that;

Pareto’s principle states that: In any particular category – a small number of clients or factors, account for the majority of the results – 20% of the clients make 80% of the profits .

Here , “Few” tasks counts more than “quantum” tasks.

You would review problems you are facing in your life, or matters that consume your powers and times, and you will find that 80% of your time consuming matters generate only 20% of the life’s results.


Let’s discuss some examples here :

  • 80% Of car accidents are caused by                             20 % of the drivers !!
  • 80% Of Lottery buyers are                                             20 % of the society !!
  • 80% Of environment impact is caused by                  20% of the world countries
  • 80% Of the food is generated from from                    20% of the farms worldwide

& in the business environment , Pareto rule confirms that :

  • 80% Of Corporate’s profits comes from                     20% of the Corps’ clients
  • 80% Of Corporate’s profits comes from                     20% of the Corps’ products !!

So , to maximize your efficiency in business , you should focus on the vital 20% of activity. But don’t leave the other 20% , since markets change and clients grow & decline easily.

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Let’s say;

إou have 10 tasks to accomplish today ! Simple note. You can increase your efficiency by considering the 1st two tasks first, and complete them as a start, this means you finished 80% of your tasks load easily !

You can also delegate or delay performing the pending tasks, and you would feel satisfied and productive !!

This implies to the IT world and software errors. In a memo dated 2002 , Microsoft CEO then Steve Ballmar, to his employees , stated that : “Microsoft has learned that 80 percent of the errors and crashes in Windows and Office are caused by 20 percent of the entire pool of bugs detected” . And they changed many of their procedures after that !! Read the full article here

How be more efficient in – the business environment?

Here are some ideas about how to increase your efficiency by following the Pareto principle : Montavue

  • Better daily planning;

Since performing 20% of the tasks related to 80% of the results required, you would set the most prioritized tasks first, and remember that they would consume 20% of your day’s time.

But don’t neglect the other 80% of your tasks, they are required for your total performance and goals.

  • Delegate tasks

In the business world, managers can’t do all tasks themselves. Yet a lot of goals and achievements are required from them.

And in order to raise their performance , and be more efficient, manager or business head should concentrate on 20% of the goals required from him, and how to achieve them – delegating the balanced works to other staff around the head.

  • Risk assessment and management

By identifying the risks the business face; whether they are in customers management procedures, sales environment, strategies, financials or whatever category the

corporate faces, the corporate should concentrate its resources and procedures to solve 20% of the highest risks to encounter, which would result in solving 80% of the problems .

But corporates shouldn’t leave the other 80% of risks unattended or solved, since they could grow and become a serious threat later to the business itself.

  • Profit generation: By focusing sales efforts to the most profitable 20% of the clients, or to gain 20% of the market’s opportunities.


Such strategy , definitely, won’t please everyone you work with, but would generate enough profit to keep your business going , and then you can take care of the rest of the clients who deal with you, growing your profits even more !!

So start thinking of your effectiveness of doing less, yet more important and more impactful tasks, more than your efficiency doing hundreds of minor tasks, and the result is minor too !!

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