The 80 20 Experiment – Day One


This is the chronicle of one week attempting to follow the 80/20 Principle–the idea that if you identify the 20% of what you do that has the greatest value and consistently act on that, your results will multiply exponentially. The previous post looked at the kinds of tasks that usually comprise that 20%. I set my own first three 20% tasks and invited you to identify three of yours.. Now read on–and join in, you can start anytime.


It’s now the end of day one and I did achieve my three 20% goals and am happy to report that my meeting with the publisher ended in an agreement that there will be a second, expanded edition of  “Your Writing Coach” published next year. I also now have a deal for another book to be published in 2011.

The meeting with the film funding agency was also useful but there the time frame for applying for funds, getting the verdict, and getting the money (if the application is one of the 25% that succeed) is a year. So while that still look promising, it’s a long-range potential payoff.

The final task was identifying two possible publishers for my novel, and I’ve selected those now.

Of course it was easy to stick to at least the first two 20% tasks because they were meetings with definite times attached. The bigger challenge will come on days—like tomorrow—when it’s all free-form.

I’ve had emails from several people who are joining in but didn’t want to be named.

One is using the 80/20% to move toward her desired weight and said her first task was to clear all the junk food out of her cabinets so as to get rid of temptation.

Another is setting the goal of learning how to set up a WordPress blog and he is starting his day with 30 minutes of online tutorials to gain confidence that he can do this himself.

If you are joining me in this experiment, how did  your first day go?

Tomorrow’s challenge

For tomorrow’s challenge I’m using the principle of building on something that has already been successful. To that end, my three 20% tasks are:

  • Write one article that supports my book, “Focus: use the power of targeted thinking to get more done,” to use for article marketing. (In case you are not familiar with article marketing, the idea is that you write articles related to one of your products or services and submit them to online distribution sites like There, people can download the articles to use on their own websites or blogs, but they agree to also run the brief bio box that you compose, that includes a link to your web site or blog or sales page. It takes a while of writing such articles consistently before you see an effect but it has been a successful marketing strategy for quite a few people.]
  • Write one article that supports my book, “Your Writing Coach.”
  • Submit my “Max Hollywood” novel proposal package to the two publishers I identified today.

My weight-loss correspondent says her main task for day 2 is setting up an exercise schedule that she can actually follow (“unlike my previous spasms of gym-going,” she says).

What three tasks would best fit your 20% top value activities? Feel free to share them and any questions, comments, or suggestions either in the comments section below or directly to me via email at

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