ezra_edited.jpg

El Viente Por Ciento

Teacher I

With the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, many people were stipulated to remain indoors and not surprisingly, the quarantine measures were able to successfully protect us from the adverse effects of the coronavirus outbreak. Amidst the quarantine's effectiveness in keeping us healthy, eventually, it became apparent that everything has its downside no matter how good they seem as even an effective "stay-at-home" measure also has its drawbacks.


"Andar con dilaciones". A recent study conducted by researchers from CNN and National Geographic found out that "procrastination" has been continuously on the rise since various lockdown measures have been imposed throughout the globe. Things are not very different here in the Philippines as we also have an adapted version of procrastination a.k.a. "manana habit" which was capitalized even more in our lives because of spending too much time at home. But interestingly, NatGeo content publisher and researcher, Nicole Johnson, has recently found out that procrastination generally does not have laziness as one of its major tenets, but rather, it serves
as a coping strategy for people when we are faced with a situation that leaves us frustrated and with a feeling of helplessness. Easily put, it seems that "procrastinating" or doing things later without any rational reason at all instead of doing them now is a response of our body in an attempt to combat the anxiety we feel from a situation in life that we are not used to, for example, the pandemic that we are experiencing to date.


We must of course emphasize that merely knowing the causal factors behind "procrastination" does not mean that we should rationalize it. As no matter how logical or rational the underlying factors might be that we engage in procrastination, it remains as a behavior that can result in detrimental effects to the different aspects of our lives. And even more dangerous is when such behavior morphs into something even more solid, more specifically a habit. 


But worry not, as researchers have also suggested that we do have a way to beat procrastination! And the best way to do it is by taking one step at a time.


It has been suggested that one of the most effective first steps that we should take to confront the earlier said behavior is by having proper knowledge on what makes the productive side of our entirety properly tick and on how much energy does it take to make your head chug and steam itself towards productivity in a manner that is so high-yielding, that you will eventually become "unstoppable" in a theoretical sense.


Without further ado, I would like to introduce you to the "Pareto Principle". As you are reading this sentence, I'd like you to pause for a moment and repeat the word "Pareto Principle". Very good! I believe that you have done so.


The Pareto Principle or better known as the "80-20" principle pertains to the theory that attests that individuals, groups of people, or even organizations for that matter can achieve something great with a small amount of effort. As the person who has the responsibility for the reckoning of this humble suggestive article, I would like to start my exhortation with an analogy in the form of a short story just to loosen up a bit while not deviating from our flow of thought.

 

I'd like you to join me in a short imagination exercise, I want you to clear your head of any baffling thoughts and just for a moment focus on what you are reading right now as if you are listening to the words of this publication. Imagine that you are driving a car going 55 kilometers per hour on the national road as you are going to work. All is well then all of a sudden, a tricycle suddenly crosses the road! You stepped on the breaks hard as your car suddenly comes to an abrupt stop. I have a question for you, what did you need to do to stop the car? You'd
probably answer stepping on the breaks. That is correct! I don't think anyone of the right mind would answer he would jump out of the car or he would crawl out of the window while the car is moving just to physically manhandle the tires to force it to stop, just no!


If you said you stepped on the brake pedal, then very good! As you have already realized you don't have to physically manhandle the entire body of the car just to put it to a stop, all you need to do is to step on a piece of metal that is a few inches long and a few inches wide to put a one-ton car going at 55kph to a sudden stop. The Pareto Principle works the same, as it makes it a point that we can achieve a lot more even by doing it in small volumes or small steps.


The Pareto Principle was first coined and put to test by an early Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto as he found out that there is a predictable imbalance when it comes to the amount of wealth that is distributed with the globe's population as the majority of the world's wealth belonged to a wealthy few. A "coincidence" he thought at first but studies continued to be repeated over time and it shows that the predictable imbalance does not only constitute the proportion of wealth, assets, and ownership, as it can also apply to the amount of effort that is put into jobs, economics, society, how we relate to others and a lot more various fields!


It came to be essential for the term "predictable" to become latched with the term "imbalance" as said earlier as the Pareto Principle made it a point that although there would be regular fluctuations when it comes to the differences in proportion to the rewards that equates to each effort, in general, with the results of several studies appearing to elicit almost similar results points out to one direction, the direction that suggests that the big things that come to our lives are mostly due to the little things that we do daily.


But you might be wondering, "What does the Pareto Principle have anything to do with fighting procrastination?". As we have learned in the opening salvo of this publication that procrastination is not a behavior that is elicited because people are lazy, but rather it is a behavior done because as a way for our mind and body to cope with a baffling situation that produces anxiety. Specifically, such situations would be the circumstances that would put us in the environment where we would eventually succumb to the notion that we are helpless and we cannot do anything to solve the problems in our environment, and then follows the practice of "Manana" or procrastination as a way for our body to reduce the tension that we feel out of the fact of knowing that we cannot do anything about situations encompassed by problems that we consider are "too big" to handle and cannot be contained.


Right here is where the 80-20 rule comes to the rescue, as it would eventually provide people hope that they don't have to engage in a behavior that would need a hundred percent of their effort to achieve astounding results! As one only needs to work and learn smartly to accomplish his or her  tasks may be at work, at school, or whatever role he or she plays in society! It would be an effective way to convince people that they are not helpless in the middle of circumstances where they have to face tremendous problems in life, as they don't have to shed a considerable amount of their life, effort, and energy to accomplish something great. Such knowledge can also be paralleled by a proverb coined by a well–known leadership guru, John C. Maxwell when he said that "Every day is merely a preparation for the next, but the question is what are you preparing for?" where one can immediately assume that we can simply prepare for tomorrow by working smartly while accomplishing activities in day-tight compartments rather than all in one go. With such said, I would like to ask you a question, are you convinced with what Mr. Vilfredo Pareto said that great things can come from efforts on day-tight-compartments, or do you think
otherwise?