I like routines so much that I sometimes have trouble enjoying vacation time and off-time, because I feel like something is missing (I guess it also helps that I love what I do).
However, for my routine to work, I sometimes have to cheat the system.
Let me explain: If what you’re doing is somewhat creative work (and if you’re reading this, chances are you have to be creative. Yes, even if you work only with spreadsheets) you have to break the rules from time to time, to give your mind a rest and keep it guessing. That throws on the creative machine.
So in my different routines, I opt for 80% success rate. This partly grew out of my own habits of working on different projects during the workweek and a concept I learnt from Ido Portal. He and his team always told us to opt for 80% success rate when it comes to learning a new skill or progression.
The same applies for routines. When you’re doing a routine the big impact comes from doing it day in and day out.
However, sometimes life gets in the way and you don’t feel like doing something or you have another appointment to attend.
A lot of people don’t realize, productivity doesn’t mean being on 24/7/365. It’s rather when you’re on, to be fully there and give it your all.
That’s why I think food and movement are so important variables, because they take care of your body, which in turn takes care of you when you’re out there achieving what you want to achieve.
As you know when it comes to food, I like to have a lifestyle, not a diet. I opt for eating clean most of the time, so that I can enjoy the desserts of life from time to time (especially on the weekends, that’s more convenient).
I do the same thing for movement: I train 3 days per week and move about 4-6 days in total, but do rest on the 7th day (or rather very light moving, such as walking).
Same with my work routine: I try to get the majority of my work done between Monday and Thursday, so that I can enjoy a Friday evening, if necessary. Although to be completely honest, it’s more like Monday until Wednesday and sometimes doing stuff on Thursday evening as well, but without breaking the morning routine on Friday.
When it comes to my food choices, I try to follow the same route.
I eat clean and conform to my goals, about 80% of the time, while splurging on the tasty desserts the rest of the time.
It works perfectly fine on the weekends, but if you don’t feel like cheating, you just continue with your preferred food during the weekend as well.
Where does 80/20 come from?
I think I’ve heard about 80/20 the first time when I read Tim Ferriss’ Four Hour Workweek, where he introduced all the people working in an office to Pareto’s Law, or 80/20 Law.
Originally created by Vilfredo Pareto, while he was studying in Lausanne (Switzerland, represent!). His thesis showed that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population.
And later on he also saw that 80% of the peas came from 20% of the peapods.
In the case of Tim Ferriss, he realized that 80% of his revenue of his business, came from 20% of all of his clients. So he decided to focus on them exclusively.
It works in a very similar way in training: 20% of what you do in the gym or daily in terms of movement, can get you 80% of your results (if you’re opting for a fitter you).
Obviously when we’re speaking about routines, we’re turning it around, but it’s easier for you to remember, so we’ll keep the 80/20 split.
Since learning about it, I try to find the 80/20 wherever I go and whatever skill I learn.
The magic of 80%
So the question is of course why 80% and not 60 or 70? And while I don’t have an exact answer to that, I don’t believe the scientific background on this number plays a big role in this case.
Of course sometimes, it can be 90/10 or 70/30, but in the end, the split will be about the same. It’s rarely 50/50.
When learning a new skill, 80% seems to be the right approach to learning as well.
Of course you’re going to fail in the beginning, but opt for 80% success rate and you’ll enjoy the benefits the more you train.
As you can see, the 80/20 rule can help you in a lot of different ways. I mainly use it for my training and my lifestyle, when it comes to food. That way I can reach my goals without investing all of my time into it.