I am reading Tim Ferriss’s The 4-Hour Work Week with absolute fascination, partly because Roy and I have independently stumbled upon and are practicing many of Ferriss’s ideas and principles. (I plan to review the book later.)
Ferris discusses Pareto’s Law or the 80/20 principle.
Pareto, an Italian economist (1848 to 1923), realized that, in virtually every area of life: business, investing, creative work, social life, gardening, 80 % of benefits will come from 20 % of one’s time and efforts.
And conversely, 80% of one’s unhappiness or unproductive activity or self-thwarting will come from 20% of one’s actions.
Some applications of 80/20 or “The Vital Few and The Trivial Many.”
1. In a business, 80% of your income will come from 20% of your products and employees. (Having run a business since 2006, I can testify this is true!!). And 80% of your hassle and wasted time will come from 20% of your customers and employees. The solution seems obvious, doesn’t it?
2. For a writer, 80% of your happiness and output will come from 20% of your time at your desk. (For 80 % of your laptop time, you may well be fooling around on Twitter, Facebook, email, Amazon, stats and research). True again!
3. 80% of the happiness in your life will come from 20 % of your relationships. AND, conversely, 20% of negative, mean, put-downy, insistent people will be causing 80% of the stress in your life.
(True again. I had a “friend” who went to church with me in America, 9 years ago. He spammed my facebook with negative obnoxious theological, political and economic comments on every post. Unfriending didn’t work; I succumbed to a friend requent. I blocked him. And began to enjoy Facebook again. It’s no fun posting when you know a bore is waiting to shoot you down. My stress, annoyance and time wasted on FB dropped exponentially with one blocking. (If blocking or unfriending is extreme, try putting “frenemies” on restricted setting, and making all your posts “Friends, except restricted.”)
4. When it comes to weight loss, 80% will come from 20% of changes. Let’s say, “Don’t eat when you are not hungry.” “Cut sugar and white flour.” “Eat huge salads and more fruit.” Don’t shoot for perfection, and make your diet unsustainable.
5 80 % of your happiness at home will come from 20% of your domestic efforts—i.e. keeping the rooms you spend most of your time in uncluttered, tidy and attractive.
Other applications of the Vital Few and the Trivial Many
1) Ask what 20% of sources are causing 80% of your problems and unhappiness.
I now try not to hang out with people who habitually put me down, even in jest, or are sarcastic, or are frequently negative (esp. about me).
For instance, I agreed to meet up with someone and then realized she would want to focus on the negative in my life (even if she just imagined it); the negative in her life (whining rather than looking for solutions) and the negative things about everyone she knew. I dread meeting up with her, then cancelled—and immediately felt happy, and my week looked rosy again.
2) Ask what 20% of sources cause 80% of my happiness and desired outcomes. Focus on increasing them.
For me, it’s reading, writing, watching films, and hanging out with family and positive friends.
* * *
Tim Ferriss suggests “firing” the 80% of customers and employees who only bring in 20% of your income actually exponentially increases your income because it frees you to work with the 20% of profitable employees and customers.
For a writer, limiting Facebook, Twitter and email increases the time spent on one’s actual writing. Limiting scattershot “promoting” increases time producing.
Ask yourself these questions. You will declutter your life.
Last Week’s Goals and This Week’s Tweaks.
What worked: I have written four good long posts on the Bible.
What I have learned: If I blog well every day, I will not have much time and energy for other writing. So I am going to experiment with writing fresh posts every second day. On the “day-off,” I might use edited archive posts (if I have time to edit after doing “real” writing), do book reviews, or just rest!
Michael Hyatt relates Tim Ferriss’s brilliant idea of the minimum effective dose to blogging. If you post, say, three times a week, you may well get the same amount of visitors and traffic (each post will get more visits; the posts will be longer and better and more-read because you will have more thinking and resting time, and so will be ranked higher by Google).
So I will take one day to do “real” writing first, and then blog if there’s energy, and one day to blog, and then write (if there’s energy). See if the blog keeps growing; if not, use edited archive posts on the off days.
Other writing—Zilch. This, God willing, will improve with blogging every second day.
2 Health and Weight
Lost 1.6 pounds.
Start weight Jan 1—233 lb,
Jan 7th—231.6 lb.
Jan 13 Goal between 230.6 and 231.1. So help me, God.
Walked and ran every day, getting a couple of personal bests.
Went to the gym, found it broke up the flow of my work, and the time spent driving, getting there early etc was wasted, so decided to do yoga and weights at home.
Diet—Lost weight, so I guess I hit the minimum effective dose to lose weight. Experimenting with healthy-ish meal of my favourite foods, and one “healthy” meal of salad with shrimp or chicken, and feta. Strict veganism did not work for me, alas.
I met an alcoholic recently, who had been hospitalized, and given no alcohol in hospital. When he left, he realized he could do without it. His eyes shining he said, “It’s so freeing. Realizing I can say no. I don’t have to drink at lunch, or during the day, or waste my evening at the pub. It feels so great, so free.”
I feel like that when I decided, “If I am not hungry, I don’t eat.” And, “I rarely eat sugar or chocolate or stuff which does not bless my body.”
As I break the habit of comfort eating, and don’t eat when I am tired, or bored or stressed, but pray for an infilling of the Holy Spirit instead, it is so freeing!
3 Waking Early_
Except for Sunday woke early, well before 8, every day. This week’s goal—7.05 a.m.
Enjoyed tidying my bedroom on the cleaner day. Decided to get him weekly for the motivation his coming provides. Working this book shelf this week, check back on Jan 13th.
5 No gardening done.
Not read much of books, just blogs, though listened to books on audio as I walk. Plan to rectify this by a simple tweak of reading in the mornings.
I like to read before I write to settle my mind, and sort of build up momentum, like a plane on a runway. Out of laziness, I’ve been reading blogs, because they are right here on my laptop, but am going to get into the habit of keeping a book by me at all times.
6 My daughter Zoe was accepted to read Theology at Jesus College, Cambridge.
The resultant exultation online and off-line sort of skewed my plans for social media usage.
|Dec. avg.||Goal: Jan 1||Achv’d||Goal: Jan 7||Achv’d||Goal – year end|
|Writing||7h 10 min||8h||15 hours||16 hours||35h|
|Social media||11h 17 min||8h||12 hours15 mins||10 hours||3h 30min|
|News, Blogs, Magazines||5h 21 min||5 hours||5 hours||4 hours||3 hours|
|3h 3min||2 hours||3 hours23 mins||2 hours||2h|