I ate peas last night. I haven’t had peas in a long time. They were great and they made me think about Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto who made an amazing discovery in 1896 — the famous 80/20 rule. And it applies to more than just economics.
Yes, it started in Italy when Pareto discovered that 80% of the land was owned by 20% of the people. But he didn’t really shout ‘Eureka!’ until he also discovered that in his garden 20% of the pea pods produced 80% of the peas.
Since that time the principle has been verified in all manner of cases.
- 80% of sales typically come from 20% of the customers.
- 20% of workers do 80% of the work.
- 20% of criminals commit 80% of the crimes.
- 20% of pub-goers consume 80% of the alcohol.
- We wear 20% of the clothes in our closet and spend 80% of our time with 20% of our friends.
- 20% of car drivers cause 80% of the accidents.
- 20% of our time spent on a task leads to 80% of the results.
- 80% of decisions are made in 20% of the time.
We can’t help it. We are just pea pods.
Should I just give up and start only going to 20% of my meetings and spending 20% of my week at the office? (This is assuming I’m one of the 20% of people that gets 80% of the work done. And I guess that would mean I would only get 80% of the 80% of work that gets done.) Drat. That last 20% of the work is necessary to get 100% of my salary. What a shame the last 20% takes 80% of my life.
What am I to do with this? Can I choose the pea pod I will be? Can I change my percentage and defy the odds?
I won’t speak for you…but this pea pod is going to try to become more efficient.