The Lake House Mysteries - by - IC Enger
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Lake House Mystery Blog

The 80-20 Rule

I've spent the better part of thisweek wrestling with a troublesome patch in my first draft of Green Ice. I'vegone back and forth with it, rewriting, changing, adding, and sweating. TodayI've come to the realization that I've been guilty of violating one of mycardinal rules, the 80-20 rule.
The 80-20 Rule states that in anygiven enterprise one spends 20% of one's time, energy and resources obtaining80% of the desired results, and 80% of the same energy, time and resourceschasing after the final 20%. This is true in people management as well; in anygiven group of people 80% will require 20% of the manager's time and effortwhile 20% will eat up 80% of the manager's time, energy and resources.
It's a great rule to live by, if youcan. The ability to accept an 80% result will free you up to accomplish more,realize more peace, be happier. Of course, it only works when 100% is notabsolutely required. How many babies is it OK for the nurse to drop? NONE. Youcan see that there are situations where 80% wouldn't be a great metric forwhich to aim.
In my case, however, it has freed me up to get on withthe story, content in the knowledge that I can spend 80% of my time during thesecond or third draft chasing down the last 20% of "perfect." Rightnow, I declare this patch good enough to allow the rest of the story to proceed.Whew. The first draft is on schedule for completion this month, again.

5 Comments to The 80-20 Rule:

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Billie Johnson on Thursday, December 06, 2012 3:30 PM
I learned the 80/20 rule long ago too! And like you, IC, I have watched things shake out accordingly for many years...long before I came to the book business. And I find it is totally true here too. The thing I wrestle with is: which 20% things do you just accept that they won't change and so drop 'em, and which do you buck against and try to merge into the 80%!! Billie Johnson Oak Tree Press
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W.S. Gager on Thursday, December 06, 2012 3:50 PM
I've never heard about it as such but agree with the philosophy. I'm trying to let go of more things at 80 percent and be less stressful. Hope it works. Wendy W.S. Gager on Writing
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replica omega on Monday, September 16, 2013 7:39 PM
good article! i like it!

IC Enger on Thursday, December 06, 2012 4:01 PM
True Billie, which 20% to let go? Sometimes I just let it go temporarily, like in a first draft. Later I will return to it and take a fresh look, but not try for more than 80% on the first pass. Other times I just let it go, yardwork comes to mind. I hope it snows and covers up that pesky 20%!
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US immigration lawyer Toronto on Wednesday, January 15, 2014 12:29 AM
The 80-20 Rule states that in any given enterprise one spends 20% of one's time, energy and resources obtaining80% of the desired results. Thats really awesome news thanks for sharing.
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