The Pareto Principle & Parkinson’s Law

, Mar 18, 2022 | 0 Comments

In order to operate efficiently, we have to know what to work on and when to work on it. The Pareto Principle (“The 80/20 Rule”) guides us on what to work on. Parkinson’s Law guides us on when to work on it.

  • Pareto Principle: What is important and is worth my time to work on?
  • Parkinson’s Law: How much time should I spending working on these important tasks?

The Pareto Principle (The 80/20 Rule)

The Pareto Principle is a simple concept that 80% of the positive effects in life/business are the result of 20% of highly effective actions and that 80% of the problems you deal with are due to 20% of your bad habits or painful people/clients you’re working with. (The concept is a little larger than that, but that’s an okay 1-sentence synopsis.) In short, the Pareto Principle means “Do more of what works and less of what doesn’t work.” A longer explanation is in the following video:

How to Effectively use the 80/20 Pareto Principle to Be More Productive

Check out the Time Themeing course on Skillshare – FREE for 2 months: http://skl.sh/PracticalPsychology2—My Details—📚Get my TOP 10 book list: https://pr…

Identifying the Positive 20%

If you can identify the positive actions you take that account for 80% of your positive results, it allows you to focus on a few high-impact activities. For agents, this can mean that following up with your clients more or going on more appointments means that you sell more and earn more. At the company level, it can mean that the more energy we spend on marketing & lead generation, the more houses everyone sells. In property management, you might notice that quick follow-up on maintenance requests means happier tenants. It’s important to identify your goals and then identify which actions are actually helping you meet those goals the most. If you do more of these high-impact actions, you’ll meet more of your goals faster.

Identifying & Eliminating the Negative 20%

Likewise, if you can identify the 20% of clients or bad habits that cause 80% of your problems, you’ll have a much happier and more efficient business life. The Pareto Principle is huge in property management because we have such long relationships with clients. We know that we always have a small few clients or properties that cause the vast majority of our problems. By ending these relationships, it frees up our time to take on new good accounts, and we grow as a result. In real estate sales, a good example is to focus on your core competency and to avoid taking clients or properties that will be low paying and/or labor-intensive. It’s probably not worth taking the $100k lot listing in Lago Vista if you live in Southwest Austin, for example.

Our 80/15/5 Rule

In real estate sales, we work with clients using a modified Pareto Principle. We know that 80% of the people that we work with will be good to work with, and many of them are a joy to work with. 20% are a pain. Of that remaining “pain”, 15% are difficult but manageable, while 5% are insane/impossible. Because we sell a high ticket item in a relatively short amount of time, we continue to work with the 15% “difficult but manageable” and we part ways with the 5% “impossible/insane.”

Parkinson’s Law

While writing this, I’ve given myself just a 15 minute time frame to finish this portion of this article. Why?

Because of Parkinson’s Law: “Work expands to fill the time available for its completion.”

Yesterday, I put writing this on my to-do list to complete by Friday, thinking I might need to wait until I had about 30-45 minutes to focus on it. Today, I looked at it and realized I might be making a mountain out of a mole-hill, so I decided to just spend the next 15 minutes on it and see what I end up with.

By setting an ambitious & somewhat arbitrary (but still reasonable) deadline, I’m ensuring that I focus on what’s critical to what I’m doing; communicate an idea.

It comes down to the distinction between being busy and being productive.

“Being busy” would be the version of this where I set aside 30-45 minutes on this. “Being productive” is the version where I hammer it out in half the time. Being busy is the negative byproduct of allotting too much time or not setting a deadline for a given task. When you don’t set a deadline for yourself, the task will drag on.

Parkinson’s Law works incredibly well with the Pareto Principle:

  • Limit tasks to the important to shorten work time. (80/20)
  • Shorten work time to limit tasks to the important. (Parkinson’s Law)

And what is excellent about Parkinson’s Law is that it not only goes hand in hand with The Pareto Principle, it works excellently with our principle of incremental improvements. In short, get a product out to meet whatever ambitious deadline you set for yourself, and then work on improving it later.

Take some opportunities to experiment with this. Start setting ambitious deadlines, stick to them, and you’ll be surprised with your results.

My time is about up now. I might come back tomorrow and spend another few minutes improving this, but now it’s done and I’ve still spent less time than I thought I’d need.

Here are 2 more great articles on Parkinson’s Law. I pulled a quote above from one of them. Spend at least 35% less time than you think you’d need to read both of them:

Categories Company Guide Culture

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

2300+ Client reviews!

We had the pleasure of working with Will Mackintosh as our agent, and couldn’t be happier with the experience. From start to finish, the process was incredibly smooth and easy, thanks to Will’s expertise and professionalism. He guided us every step of the way making what could have been a stressful experience surprisingly enjoyable. Will’s attention to detail and dedication to finding the perfect property for us truly stood out. We couldn’t have asked for a better agent. I highly recommend Will and Bramlett Residential to anyone buying or selling a home in the Austin area.

Danny is amazing. We are first time home buyers and knew almost nothing going in other than what we could afford. Danny is patient and had references for mortgage companies, home inspectiors and specialty inspectors. He was able to negotiate on our behalf and guided us every step of the way from our staring offer to the day of move in. Didn’t matter the time of day, Danny was always available and made sure we understood everything we were signing. Buying a home is scary especially during pandemic but Danny made it seemless and went above and beyond to take care of us. Cannot speak highly enough of Danny.

Linda is very knowledgeable in the area and really helped me (out state buyer) to learn the important facts about the home locations that I was interested in. She provided great advice as part of the negotiation. She is very professional and dedicated to taking care of her customer. She even replied to one of my texts at 2AM in the morning! I highly recommend Linda if you are looking for a very knowledgeable and experienced agent who delivers results. After the closing date she is still following up with me to answer any questions and help me with finding services to take care of my new home.

We had a great experience with agent Kasey Gilliam, both coming and going! Kasey helped us find our lovely home five years ago, then helped us sell it again when we moved back east. She knows the market and has broad experience with Austin neighborhoods and homes. We trusted her advice — and she was always available when we had questions. She and her team kept our house safe and managed what felt like a million showings. We would happily work with Kasey again if we ever return to Austin, and are happy to sing her praises!

First, Carol is warm and helpful in every way. With Carol’s help, we bought our house remotely. She gave us great guidance: “This house would be great for you. The neighborhood is good.” Her office staff was also supportive – picking up the key from the closing company; going out to the property when a workman was there. It also must be said that after so many years in the business, she knows the market very well. Carol knows her stuff.
Carson, is an outstanding Realtor. He has been our agent for the past 7 years and we have purchased two houses utilizing his expertise.. Carson is very professional and courteous always thinking of his clients needs. I strongly recommend him and know that you will be very satisfied with his services.
I found Carson by searching Real Estate Agents in Austin who are also investors/landlords. Carson is certainly worth a call! I contacted Carson to ask if it made sense to stay in touch and possibly meet because I was looking for a 2-4 plex in Austin. Being from California and only having been in Austin 1-2 months at the time, it was critical for me to meet a real estate agent who was familiar with landlord’s perspective in the Austin market.<br/><br/>Carson and I didn’t do business that day or even that month. Later in the year, I was more prepared to get in depth and serious with the search so I reached out to Carson and he set me up on an MLS list with my search criteria. As my wife and I disqualified zip codes Carson was patient enough to update our search criteria promptly. Along the search Carson advised us and answered all our questions. My wife found a duplex listed as “coming soon” on Zillow so we drove past it and asked Carson what this listing status meant. Carson got us an appointment to view the duplex the first day it came on the market, our offer was accepted and Carson was there every step of the way.<br/><br/>After closing Carson continues to offer value to the transaction. Carson called me in early January to recommend that I fill out paperwork to make the duplex my homestead. This was very useful because, coming from California, I didn’t know about this. I know I can call Carson any time with questions around real estate. Carson is very personable, relatable, yet still very professional.
Carson was recommended to me by a friend and I’m so glad that I took him up on that recommendation!! Carson helped my find a home last spring and it was a great experience. He took into account all of the things that I was looking for and showed me multiple listings until we found the right place. He was also extremely knowledgeable about and responsive to questions during the closing process. I knew that if I was concerned about something or had additional questions I could always give him a call. Carson is fun and personable as well as very knowledgeable about the real estate industry in Austin, you couldn’t ask for a better real estate agent!

Carson was wonderful to work with. We worked with him during the holidays and we still got immediate responses from him. He helped us sell our home and purchase a new home. We’d pick him again in a heartbeat!

My wife and I could not be more pleased with the amount–and most importantly, quality–of professionalism, knowledge and personalized service that Carson Gallagher displayed throughout the process of selling our home in Austin. We walked away from our first meeting with him with complete confidence that he would have our best interest in mind and that confidence only increased over time. We both tend to be worriers by nature, and Carson’s calm, informed and rational approach to every step of the transaction worked absolute wonders in quashing our stress levels. Simply put, if he said “don’t worry about X, Y and Z,” we didn’t worry. In hindsight, he was correct in his assessment every single time. It was truly a pleasure to work with Carson, and, without question, he’s the first person we’re going to recommend to anyone either looking to sell or purchase a home in the Austin area. <br/><br/>Mark Iversen
The main “takeaway” I had when dealing with Mr. Gallagher (on 2 separate deals now) would be that I’ve walked away with more knowledge about the buying/selling process than I did going in. Mr. Gallagher was very adamant about letting me know that he was there to work for me and he would do anything (within reason, of course) that I asked throughout the process; with that being said, he was also expressive in letting me know that he would inform me of the impact of any decision I make concerning the deal at hand, in turn making me feel very comfortable knowing that I had the information I would need to make informative decisions. He’s on my phone for future deals and referrals to my circle of friends and family.

As a first time home buyer, Carson was the first real estate agent I’d worked with and I’m grateful for it! Carson knows this business extremely well, and it comes across in the first moment you speak with him. He’s an authentic and trustworthy advisor, a true professional .. you don’t meet many like this. Carson was excellent at explaining the complex details in ways I understood, as well as being a real negotiator on my behalf. Honestly I couldn’t recommend him more. Easily one of the best people you could work with in Austin.

Click Here to Read All Reviews
Helpful Resources