80/20 Rule and how to finish stuff successfully

Have you ever worried why so many of your projects and plans remain unfinished?

Are you tired of endless delays and unforseen problems that wreck your projects, although you planned well and were working hard to get things done in time?

If  you have never experienced the pain of unfinished work you can skip this article, but otherwise you should understand the 80/20 rule.

What does the 80/20 rule mean?

80/20 ruleFor example, if you squeeze an orange, it means that you get 80% of the juice with a 20% squeeze.

In relation to income it means that 20% of all people earn 80% of all money.

To understand the beauty of this you need to understand that the 80/20 rule is fractal.

This means for example, that you can apply the 80/20 rule on the  20% – 20% of the 20% will give you 80% results of the 20%.

What is even more important to remember is that you should look for fresh oranges that you can squeeze with 20% of your available power to get the 80% juice – and then GET THE HELL OUT.

Move on.


Don’t waste your energy becoming perfect. Don’t lose the 80% power that you have left over to get only 20% more results. Because if you do, your productivity goes to hell. And you will never become successful at anything.80/20 rule and finishing

Don’t fall into the trap of perfectionism.

So far this has been common knowledge. But read on, because here comes the juicy part:

This is what happens if you relate the 80/20 Rule to setting targets and finishing projects.

If you divide a project into 6 phases (more on that number in another post) you could say that you expect to have reached 50% of your project at the end of the third phase (or half time) and 100% of your goals at the end of the project.

However, this usually leads to massive frustration, because you never reach 100% of your goals. There is almost always something that crosses your plans and disrupts them big time.

But what happens if you are aware of the 80/20 Rule? Then you should expect to reach only 80% of your goals when you cross the finishing line. This would also mean that you had to reach only 40% of your goals in the middle of your project, instead of 50%.

If you followed the 80/20 rule this means that with a 20% squeeze you get 20% missing targets, 20% errors, 20% failure.

Those numbers don’t look so impressive, do they?

This is why projects are so difficult to finish. While at the beginning you can – and should – let your dreams go wild, at the end of any development you come to realize with astonishing clarity that no, you cannot reach your goals. The devil is in the details. Reality does not turn out the way you expected it to. It is normal that you miss at least 20% (or actually 33% to be exact, but that is part of another post) of your goals. And you have to deal with 20% errors that you were not aware of when you started.

But all this is no harm at all, IF …

and only IF you squeezed with no more than 20% of your power. Because, remember, with that 20% squeeze you still get 80% of the juice, and even if you include the fact that you missed to extract another 20% of juice, your productivity is REALLY, REALLY GREAT. You are a true success. You made it big time.

In this case, the 20% failure do not matter.

You see, you need to be able to think in relative terms if you want to profit from the 80/20 rule.

The sixth and last phase of any development is ruled by the astrological sign of Libra (and Virgo).

I often wondered how a Libra can be so flaky. One moment she totally agrees with one person, then another person comes along who declares the opposite, and what does the balance do? She immediately agrees with the second person. Somewhow she forgets that agreeing to both is a contradiction.

Accordingly, many other signs find her behaviour untrue, dishonest and false.

But, you see, a Libra has to accept failure. And she can accept failure and fault in a heartbeat, because she does not think in absolute terms. A Libra thinks in relative terms.

20% failure does not bother a Libra. It does not matter when you look at the last phase of any project, the phase ruled by Libra. Because the only thing that counts in this phase is the relationship between input and output. And considering that the input was only 20% power, such an imperfect number as 80% output is a HUGE success.

If you understand this relationship, you understand a Libra, even if you have never learned any astrology before.

To sum up this thought exercise:

Be ok with 20% failure. If you invest no more than 20% and produce 20% failure, it means that you got away with 80% positive results, which is a rockstar result, if you measure your success in productivity.

Disclaimer: Of course this does not mean that you should throw away 20% of orange juice. And it does also not mean that you should avoid going to your limits.

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