80/20 Rule Pie Chart

By D.J. Harrington

DJ Harrington - Fuel for Thought
DJ Harrington – Fuel for Thought

We have all heard of the 80/20 Rule. This rule is one of the most helpful of all concepts of time and life management. Some people call it the “Pareto Principle,” after its founder, an Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto who first wrote about this way back in 1895 (an no, I wasn’t there). Pareto noticed that people in his time seemed to divide up naturally into what he called the “Vital Few,” the top 20% in terms of money and influence, and then the “Trivial Many” will form the bottom 80%.

He believed, and so do I, that virtually all economic activity is subjected to this principle. For example, this principle says that 20% of your activities will account for 80% of your results, 20% of your customers will account for 80% of your sales, 20% of your products or services will account for 80% of the value of what you do, and it goes on like that.

Now listen up to what this means to all of us in the towing industry. If we have a list of 10 items to do, 2 of those items will turn out to be worth 5 or 10 times or more than the other 8 items put together.

Here is something my dad tried to explain to me and I didn’t catch on to until later in life. Each of 10 tasks may take about the same amount of time to accomplish, but 1 or 2 of those tasks will contribute 5 or 10 times the value of any of the others. My dad would ask me which tasks I like the least, and then proceed to tell me to do that one first to get it off your plate first thing in the morning.

If you know one task means more than the other nine, do that one first. You get what I am saying. My dad would say, “Focus on activities not accomplishments.”

Remember this, “If you have to eat a live bug, it doesn’t pay to sit and look at it for very long.” Do first things first. The hardest part of any important task is getting started on it in the first place.

Just thinking about starting and finishing an important task motivates me and helps me to overcome procrastination. Your ability to choose between the important and the unimportant is the key factor to your success in life and work.

Please remember that effective, productive people in the towing industry discipline themselves to start on the most important task that is before them. As a result, they accomplish more than the average person and are much happier as a result. This should be your way of working, as well.

I know you heard of the 80/20 Rule, but now you know more about it and how it can improve your life and the towing business.

See you next time!

Oh, and one last thing: “Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.” — Mother Teresa.

Correspondence regarding this article should go to:
DJ Says, 2820 Andover Way, Woodstock, GA 10389

D.J. Harrington is an author, journalist, seminar leader, international trainer, and marketing consultant. He works primarily with customer service personnel, and his clients include such world-class companies as General Motors, DuPont, Caterpillar and Damon Corporation. He may be reached at 800-352-5252 or by email at dj@djsays.com, 52 weeks a year, we are as close as your telephone, or at www.djanddan.com.