How to supercharge the “80/20 rule”

When I worked on Wall Street, I did the unthinkable.

I took vacation. Not just the 3 day weekend type. But two g**damn weeks. In a row.

I took 3 weeks off for our wedding + honeymoon.

I took 2 weeks off when my kids were born.

Which may not seem like a big deal, but shockingly on Wall Street it still is.

(In fact, Bloomberg interviewed me as their main “rebel” in the article Wall Street Dads Find Parental Leave Easier to Get than to Take.)

The reason I was able to take these daring vacations was not because of excessive chutzpah.

It’s because of one of my favorite principles from the RadOSThe 80/20 Rule.

And in this case, (courtesy of Andy Grove’s High Output Management) I had discovered that when you manage employees, one-on-one touch bases were the 20% of the time, that got 80% of the results.

And because our team was straight ?, I could take 2 weeks off. (And so could they, btw.)

The 80/20 rule abounds in all dimensions of our lives. Mark Manson offers some prompts to introspect on how the principle is serving you:

  • What are the 20% of your possessions you get the most value out of?
  • What do you spend 20% of your time doing that gives you 80% of your happiness?
  • Who are the 20% of people you’re close to who make you the happiest?
  • What’s the 20% of food you eat 80% of the time?

Now that we’re airtight on the 80/20 rule, let’s introduce another wrinkle: the hourglass principle (h/t @TimothyJFrancis).

The graphic above is in reference to managing/delegating. But you could replace Lead with Strategic Thinking.

But what I love about this concept is the magic in that last 10%: the review.

Reviews are unsexy. They feel mundane. That’s because incremental change doesn’t release the dopamine of checking something off a to do list.

Yet the reviews are restorative. They’re like deep sleep after an intense workout. Part recovery, part cross-pollination, and tons of growth.

Think about Manson’s questions. It’s great to ask them. Even better to execute upon them. But what about reviewing if the outputs match the inputs?

Or said differently, was it all worth it?

Now I’m keen to know – how do you implement reviews into your lives?

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