The Pareto Principle and my To-Do List

Lately, I’ve been reflecting on how my ministry is inundating me with tasks to accomplish. Some are great and vital! Others, leave me feeling drained. And some of it I feel is just busywork. But does it really make an impact?

As our ministry continues to grow, I find that there is less and less time for some of the tasks I used to do. This has left me in a position to reflect more on what are the most important tasks I have to accomplish. Then a lesson from years ago came back and struck me. The Pareto Principle, aka the 80/20 rule.

According to betterexplained.com, the Pareto Principle originated in Italy, as it was observed that 80% of Italy’s wealth was in the hands of 20% 0f the population. This blog states that “More generally, the Pareto Principle is the observation (not law) that most things in life are not distributed evenly. It can mean all of the following things:

  • 20% of the input creates 80% of the result
  • 20% of the workers produce 80% of the result
  • 20% of the customers create 80% of the revenue
  • 20% of the bugs cause 80% of the crashes
  • And on and on…”

It struck me that I needed to examine my work. What are the vital 20% of tasks that I do that create 80% of the results? I’m just beginning this analysis, but I’m hoping that, in the end, I will be able to free up my time to do the things that are most necessary to the success of my ministry. In the next two months, as we begin to plan for the 2011-2012 ministry year, I plan to take a red marker and start crossing out the less vital tasks and events that we put on that take 80% of our time and produce only 20% of our results. My hope is that, with a little discipline, my ministry team and I can widdle away our to-do’s and find the 20% of tasks that really matter most to create the impact that we are looking for.

What are some of the vital tasks that you do that create 80% of the results? Share with us!

John Rinaldo

As the Business Manager at St. Catherine Catholic Church in Morgan Hill, CA, Dr. John Rinaldo serves as the administrator over operations and finances for the parish in support of all parish ministries. Previously, John served as the Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry for the Diocese of San Jose, empowering parish communities to minister to the needs of youth and young adults. John is also an adjunct professor at Santa Clara University teaching pastoral ministry courses to graduate students.


John Rinaldo


As the Business Manager at St. Catherine Catholic Church in Morgan Hill, CA, Dr. John Rinaldo serves as the administrator over operations and finances for the parish in support of all parish ministries. Previously, John served as the Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry for the Diocese of San Jose, empowering parish communities to minister to the needs of youth and young adults. John is also an adjunct professor at Santa Clara University teaching pastoral ministry courses to graduate students.



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