This principle, also known as the 80/20 rule, was discovered by the Italian sociologist, economist and philosopher Vilfredo Pareto. Through observation and empirical knowledge, Pareto established that 20% of the Italian population owned 80% of the total wealth in Italy.
It was later observed that this principle also applies to politics, telecommunication networks and even the consumption of energy resources. In recent years this rule has also been applied to sectors such as engineering, finance and even personal productivity. In all cases it has been used as a method for optimizing resources to get results faster. In short, this rule serves to identify 20% of the actions that cause 80% of the results.
This rule has infinite applications in diverse personal aspects and labor sectors. For example:
We could continue with the day to day examples that apply to this rule. However, this principle is especially useful as a method of personal productivity, because it forces you to be radically hard with those things that make you waste time and forces you to seek efficiency and effectiveness.
Job searching methods usually consist in sending out CVs indiscriminately, and constantly visiting job portals to track offers that fit what we are looking for, and even those that do not fit that much. This technique is simply an incorrect way to use our time.
This method is highly inefficient, it consumes many hours of our day without returning tangible results. We waste 80% of our time in sending CVs to offers where we know that we have little or even no chance of getting an interview, and we invest the remaining 20% of our time in sending our CV to offers in which we do have probabilities and that suit our profile.
This is where the Pareto principle is evidenced: if we send out our CV to 100 job offers, for 80 of them we have no chance of getting the job, while for the other 20 we will get a maximum 2 or 3 interviews. To be more effective, we must be more selective when it comes to sending our resume; sending it to multiple job offers may make us feel good, making us believe that we are being productive, but in fact we are being just the opposite.
The question we should ask ourselves is, which are the 20% of the actions that allow us to get 80% of the interviews? We must focus on and improve the things that really matter, for example:
We must focus on developing a job searching system in which we concentrate on the things that really matter and give results. Be very objective when judging and analyzing our old methods to eliminate those things that simply waste our time. And finally, focus on quality rather than quantity; not by sending more CVs or by spending many hours behind the computer navigating to find job offers, we increase our chances of getting interviews. Although we may invest little time in this process, we must ensure that it’s time well invested, where we only carry out the actions that actually give results.
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