The 80 20 Experiment – Everything takes longer!


(To find out what this is about scroll back to the post for Aug. 2 and then read forward the posts with big numbers on them. You can join in at any time!)

There’s a statistic going around in the productivity arena that everything takes 4 times as long as you think it will. I’m not sure that’s an accurate figure but it wouldn’t surprise me too much. (Another figure–and I’m making this one up but I bet it’s true–is that it would take you twice as long to do something as you think it should take someone else to do it.)

I say that because today I did achieve the review of additional crowd sourcing material and do a mailing to my list (I made it about the 80/20 principle).

However, the video I set out to do still isn’t done. I did make good progress but didn’t complete it, partly because i”m still learning how to use iMovie9, partly because like most people I’m too optimistic about how quickly I can get things done.

Probably a good rule of thumb from now on will be to double the estimate; then, if it takes less time, it will feel like I’m being extra productive!

Geraldine joined the experiment today–her focus is on weight loss. She’s made good progress in the past but has kind of stalled. Now she’s going to use the 80 20 rule to gain new momentum.

If that’s an issue you might like to tackle, I can tell you that the top 20% of your possible actions will come from changes in your diet (much more influential than changes in exercise, although of course getting exercise has many additional mental and physical health benefits). One of my friends discovered that simply cutting out eating chocolate biscuits every night was enough to make a big difference.

Tomorrow is Sunday so I’m going to take the day off and feel free to wallow in any old 80% activities I want to (or no activity at all).

These will be my 20% tasks for the following day:

* Finish the video!

* Complete additional research for crowd funding report

* Write one sample creativity column for possible syndication (this is under the category of putting more effort into what is already successful, as I think a syndicated creativity column would help further the already pretty good sales of my “Creativity Now!” book).

How about you? If you’re joining in, feel free to comment or–the method people have preferred so far–email me at

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Categories : Productivity

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