The 55% rule
I came up with the 55% rule because I know what it’s like to spin your wheels, to be a perfectionist who agonises over every tiny detail of every task. But you know what I have come to realise? A 55% effort is more than enough for most tasks.
Anything more is a waste of your time and your energy – time and energy that you could be using to push your project forward and wow everyone with your ingenuity, your creativity, and your ability to get a task done and move on.
Who says every tiny detail has to be perfect to succeed?
Nobody’s perfect. We all know that, but so many of us strive for perfection in everything we do. We wear our perfectionism like a badge of honour, like it’s something to be proud of. But why? What is it ultimately giving us?
In striving for perfection we spend countless hours on tasks that potentially have minimal impact.
I used to spend too much time fine-tuning and tweaking only to realise a great proportion of my time had been wasted. I could have put it into something else that had real impact on my life, my business, or the people I care about.
The 55 per cent rule is about not obsessing over a task. It’s about ticking tasks off your to-do list in the most efficient way possible.
This means you need to be honest with yourself about the KPIs of your task – what’s going to make it successful? That’s your primary focus.
Isn’t it better to get something pretty good out the door than sit on it for months until it’s perfect?
This isn’t just about money. I’m always telling my team not to spend time on tasks that just need to be finished. Get them done and spend time on the tasks that have real impact, that make a difference to our clients and their customers. Spend time where the bang is!
The 55% rule explained
But hold up. It’s not about cheating.
I want to make one thing very clear: The 55% rule is not about cheating. It’s not about doing someone over. It’s about spending your limited time on activities that will have the most impact.
This IS about being selfish with your time. But selfish in a way that isn’t all “me me me and to hell with you”. It’s selfish in that your time is valuable and you need to make sure you’re prioritising it effectively. It’s being selfish so that you do have more time for new business development, or to spend with your kids, or to support your favourite charity, or help a friend move house. You’re making time for the things that really matter.
It’s being selfish by wanting the best possible outcome for your client so you churn out the tasks on their job that just need doing
quickly and efficiently, and then spending your time focusing on the meaty tasks that require more time and mental energy.
I liken it to spinning plates. At any given moment in our busy lives, we are spinning a shitload of plates. Sometimes in really hectic times it’s just impossible to keep all of those plates spinning, and we see one or more plate come crashing down around us. We can do a better job of spinning the plates if we stop spinning the less important plates, and concentrate on the ones that will bring us the most reward.
The 55% rule isn’t just about work or business, it’s about life as well. You really can apply it to any aspect of your life. Read about how the 55% rule saved me on my son’s first day of kindy here.