Pareto’s principle, or the idea that 80% of results are derived from 20% of our actions, gets a lot of attention. While it’s a good reminder to zero in on the most powerful parts of your work, this principle can be poorly applied.
There are definitely situations that require perfection, like an engineer designing a bridge. She operates in 100% outputs/100% inputs territory, doing everything (sometimes in triplicate) to ensure perfect results. After all, safety is paramount, and there’s no room for error.
If that same engineer brings 100%/100% thinking to other aspects of life, that’s going to be frustrating for her and others – and unnecessary waste of time, money and energy. Sometimes it’s actually enough to do 10% in order to receive 50% of the results. Some things that fit into this “ballpark” category include rough drafts, initial brainstorms and financial estimates.
The next time you describe a project’s results, take the time to gauge them; do they need to be perfect, great, okay or ballpark? Then, determine the best percentage and quality/quantity of action that yields those results.
“Success is dependent on effort,” said Sophocles. That doesn’t mean that everything on your plate requires 100%. It’s up to you to quantify both the degree of the results needed and the effort necessary to achieve them.
Need help finding the sweet spot of results? We can help.
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