Thursday, September 04, 2008

80/20, 100, and 24/7


numbers.
If we don't know what they mean, they're useless as leaders, teachers, anybody.
Today, we are going to delve into a few numbers that should mean something to everyone, and it is my hope that they start as numbers and finish as maxims to lead your life day by day.

80/20
You've probably heard this one is business but shame on you if that's the only place you apply the rule. Quite simply, the average worker will yield on average 80% of their productive results from only 20% of their time. Why? Because we often engage in time wasting, or pursue endeavors that don't pay off in the end if we don't carefully weigh how we invest our time.
The lesson from the 80/20 rule is identify what you are doing well in your 20% of your time, and try to flip the ratio so that you spend 80% of your time on such worthwhile engagements. By simple math, our productivity should quadruple, and our stress levels brought on by wasting time or energy should be reduced by 75%.
Hence, if we can get quadruple the results and 1/4 the stress, why on Earth would you limit this logic to work?

The 80/20 rule should be applied to;
- relationships first and foremost
- hobbies
- leisure pursuits
- physical pursuits
- finances (budgeting and investments)
- the activities you do as a family or help your kids get into
- in today's society, limiting the 20% - tv, video games, IM chat, etc 20% of the hours we are awake and not at work or school or commuting there = 1 hour a day combined from all the above.

100
As in the 100% rule.
When you are at work, WORK. No internet solitaire, facebook, 5 coffee breaks, or wasting other people's time by chatting at the water cooler incessantly. Get productive, finish your most important tasks each day if not all the tasks you set out for yourself and then leave.
When you are at play, PLAY. Don't leave some work to take home that will distract you from playing catch with the kids or really getting into the barbeque you're supposed to be enjoying with friends. Have a life, get excited about it, and don't think good times just happen... you need to be the driver of your social life or that busy work schedule will scare your friends away.
Plan vacations, even plan when you intend to have a few extra drinks than normal (not the day before work or a tough physical event, don't drive there, etc)
The 100% rule simply states be 100% in whatever you are doing. It doesn't mean you have to be 100% at everything. That is, be as effective, efficient, and productive as YOU can at work- someone may be better but be your best. Be the best mom you can be and who cares what Sally Jones did for her entire kindergarten class. Don't slough off your friends by being distracted on your Blackberry at social functions- even if you can only make it out every 3 months, be 100% there when you decide you can be there (or be 100% someplace else).

The 100% rule should be applied to;
- everything in your life
- everything else you can think of

24/7
As in, Sundays count, holidays count, retirement counts.
If you think it's okay to bust your ass at work and then shut down when you come home- ask yourself how divorce sounds.
If you think rest is not counted above, think again- but be 100% resting. There is a huge difference between planned rest and procrastination. Sunday may entail planned rest and unstructured down time with the family- but it should not include ditching responsibilities because you need a rest.
Sound unfair? Don't want to take out the garbage and pay the bills on-line when you get home? No problem. Watch your neighbor move into a bigger house and buy a cabin on the lake based on their due diligence and application of the 3 number rules, but DO NOT after the fact ask how they did it or claim that life is unfair because you haven't got a break.
These 3 rules (laws if you will) that are based on hard, smart work are your key to 'getting all the breaks'. It really is that simple.

The 24/7 rule should be used;
- every day
- every hour
- in conjunction with the 80/20 rule and the 100% rule

While we on swim upstream may not be math professors, we're pretty sure you can remember 3 number-based rules. If you think there's exceptions to these rules, remember - all we know about people is what we see. Just because someone has money doesn't mean their content; and just because someone is content doesn't mean they have money.

The consistent application of these rules will both a) be it's own reward and b) will also if a is true lead to more financial, time, health, and freedom benefits.

Test out the 80/20 and 100% rules today and see how you feel as you lay your head to be 100% invested in sleep until tomorrow. Chances are, you'll get up refreshed and ready to apply the first 2 rules 24/7.

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