Pareto 80 20

Are you in the Pareto 80 or the 20?

Have you heard of the Pareto 80 20 principle? When working with a group of people in a training setting there are those that get on with the task, find the zoom link or fill in the exercise. And then there are the ones who can’t find the email and ask where to find the instructions whilst copying the email with them on. These ones eat 80% of the admin time despite being only 20% of the participants. I have been known to make a chart of this – yep, I’m a nerd!

The Pareto principle, otherwise known as the 80/20 principle, is an interesting one. It can be fun: according to a recent publication from the Unicode Consortium, only three out of 2,600+ emojis—😂, ❤️, and 😍—account for 20% of overall emoji use. To give you more of a context, Facebook users alone send about 1 billion emojis daily.

But can we apply it to our careers?

Even if the number is exactly 80 or 20 I think having an awareness of Pareto can help to keep us focused on what really matters. Here are a three ways to use the Pareto principle in your work life:

One: To do list

Chances are you have a long to do list (I hope it’s not just me). But not everything on it is going to lead to fame and glory. Chances are out of 10, 2 of those things are going to make 80% of the difference to your future. Can you identify them? In my experience job hunting is low on the priority list but 30 minutes spent looking at future jobs can help you identify what is important now for then.

Two: Use it to focus your job hunt.

You need to identify the big reward items in your job search / application process. It is pointless spending all your time applying to every possible job with a when a focused application for one might get you further. Ensure you use that time best following tips in Science.

Three: Create processes that streamline.

A snapshot of things you do every day (e.g. attaching invites to emails) may well identify time stealers. I love calling these time bandits. One example I found was hunting for my online booking link – now built into my email. Might save small amounts of time each time but it means I use the link more. Which saves a huge amount of time fixing meetings. 80% of what I do on email I think could be shortened to allow me to concentrate on those really important things.

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