Actionable Ideas #2: Pareto's 1%, Parkinson's Law, "I Get To" Mindset

In these actionable ideas posts, I highlight three ideas that you can convert into immediate action. There is no shortage of interesting ideas and insights out there, and action can bring them to life to drive meaningful value.


Pareto’s 1%

You’re likely familiar with the Pareto Principle (80/20 rule), which asserts that 80 percent of yield comes from 20 percent of inputs (e.g. 80% of revenue comes from 20% of clients, other examples). But within the 20 is another 80/20 and eventually a 1/50 ratio (see the graph above and the math here).

Action item: identify the 80/20 in your life and do it again to uncover the 1 percent that yields 50 percent of results in your life. The goal is to be attentive to what is taking your time and how to get the best bang for your buck.


Parkinson’s Law

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Parkinson’s Law states that work expands to fill the time available for its completion. We know this intuitively when we are given an extra week to finish a project, and end up taking all the extra time given. This is also related to induced demand – an example of which is when road lanes are expanded to reduce traffic they often cause more traffic.

Action item: give yourself half the time you need to finish a task (aka time boxing) and see if you can complete it, you often need less time than you think – we don’t need six lane highways to get to where we need to go.


“I Get To” Mindset

Practicing gratitude is one of the most effective and simplest ways to change your mood and life. There is a plethora of gratitude meditation practices out there, but you can start small by simply replacing the words “I have to” with “I get to”. By doing so, obligations are transformed into to opportunities.

Action item: for every action you take today, reframe “I have to do [something]” into “I get to do [something]”. Check in with how you feel at the end of the day.