#377 Parkinson’s Law + 80/20 Principle

= Productivity Magic

Continuing our theme of how to Optimize our productivity, let’s talk about an Idea from Tim Ferris.

In The 4-Hour Workweek, Tim combines two concepts to create some magic. I just so happened to be a micro-case study in the power of this approach today and thought it would be a good time to share.

Long story short, Tim walks us through the power of the 80/20 Principle. Recap there: A few key behaviors drive your results. Focus on them and forget the rest.

Then he walks us through Parkinson’s Law. Recap there: The amount of time something takes will always expand to the amount of time you give it.

Then, he combines the two. That’s where the magic happens.

So, recap of the recap: First, you ruthlessly prune the inessential tasks and focus on what matters 80/20 style. Then you ruthlessly constrain the amount of time you give yourself to do something. And, voilà! Epic results.

Micro-case study of my day: I’ve decided (80/20 style) that +1s are an important part of our current Optimize offering. And… I’ve been kinda busy and fell behind on my prep for +1s which resulted in me accidentally forcing myself to write 25 +1s in 24 hours today before my next studio session tomorrow. (Oops.)

80/20 meets Parkinson’s and…


This is +1 #25 in 5.5 hours of Deep Work spread out over 6 sessions. And… I just had one of the most productive days of my life. (Hah.) (For the record: 10 of those +1s were already roughly drafted!)

(And, fittingly: My one interruption other than family time was a great, nearly 2-hour chat with Mr. Deep Work himself, Cal Newport. Hah.)

Today’s +1. How about you? Shall we dance?

Step 1. 80/20 what’s important.
Step 2. Parkinson the amount of time you give yourself to do it.
Step 3. Hammer time.

And… Voilà!

Productivity magic.

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