The 99/1 Rule That Will Make You Unstoppable

Do what you have to do until you can do what you want to do.

Oprah Winfrey

Do you know why there are people who succeed in almost everything they set out to do? They don’t have more time, they don’t have skills that you or I can’t have, they have simply known how to go one step further to Pareto’s Law until it becomes the 99/1 rule.

Until I learned about Pareto’s Law, I thought productivity was about getting as much done as possible.

The way I had to finish the tasks was to spend time at the end of the day when the head is not totally optimal and the quality of your work decreases considerably.


A first step to being unstoppable

Pareto realized that 80% of the wealth in his country was owned by 20% of the population. Over the years he also observed this interesting effect in different aspects such as:

  • 20% of the people you know provide you with 80% of support and satisfaction (friendship, love… etc).
  • 20% of the customers generate 80% of the revenue of a business.
  • 80% of your success depends on 20% of your effort.
  • 20% of the exercises you do will bring 80% of benefits to your body.

Forget 80/20 and focus on 99/1

By now you will have read this theory an infinite number of times. What was later demonstrated is that within that 20% the 80/20 rule occurs again. Thus we have that 4% of the population has 64% of the wealth. And from that 4%, we could do the same rule again.

If you have any doubt about what I am talking about, here are some examples:

  • 1% of businesses have the same capitalization as the remaining 99% of companies.
  • 1% of F1 racers are paid the same as the rest of the pit lane.
  • 1% of Medium accounts have 99% of followers.
  • 1% of works of art are worth the same as the remaining 99%
  • 1% of the world’s richest people own 85% of the world’s stocks
  • 1% of our personal relationships bring us 99% of our happiness.
  • 20′ of sport at very high intensity per day produces changes in our body far superior to those of walking for 4 hours.

So all the extraordinary benefits come from 1% (or even less) of the tasks we do. Look for asymmetries in your life and focus on them.

Have you ever had a partner or friend that you don’t know how he/she can possibly have time to do everything he/she does? When we were little there was always a classmate who was the best in sports, in studies, the one who was the most flirtatious, and even the one who went out partying the most.

Knowing how to be within that 1% in many areas of our lives can make us unstoppable.


Where can I apply the 99/1 rule?

The 1% rule is applicable to all areas of life: studies, work, soft skills, sports, investment, business, art….

Many people have no idea of the enormous capacity we can immediately possess when we focus all of our resources on mastering a single area of our lives.

Tony Robbins

In other words, 99 percent of your results should come from 1 percent of your time. Does that mean you should work less? Not really. What this concept seeks is to motivate you to focus on the things that really matter, especially the tasks that help us reach our goals.

How do you identify that 1% of super-productive actions focus on them and leave aside the rest that is not?


Think again about the things you have to do

You want to take on too much. In addition to the projects you’re taking on, you feel like you have 50 other smaller tasks that require your attention. You have a ton of unanswered emails in your inbox. A colleague working on another project urgently needs your opinion and they’re already on deadline. And that’s not to mention the pounds of laundry waiting for you at home.

But it’s not all bad news. Solutions for prioritizing tasks and making decisions are not new. In fact, one of the best decision-making and time management frameworks was invented half a century ago by old-school productivity master and busy man Dwight Eisenhower, the 34th president of the United States.

He created a matrix that bears his name and states that tasks can be classified into four groups:

  • Important and Urgent tasks: you should focus all your attention on completing them.
  • Important but Non-Urgent tasks: tasks that are important for your professional and personal development and should be done once you have completed the tasks in the first group.
  • Not important but urgent tasks: these are the tasks that you should delegate
  • Not Important and Not Urgent tasks: don’t do them, use this time to watch Netflix or read a new book.

Stop to think and classify the tasks, focus on the first two groups and forget the rest.


Create habits

This is the point that will get you where you want to go.

Focus on that 1% of tasks that give you results and turn them little by little into habits. Successful people, if they have gotten to where they are, it is because they have good habits. Locate those habits that detract and turn them little by little into positive habits. Habits are the first stepping stone in building a system.

Goals are good for setting a direction, but systems are best for making progress

James Clear, Atomic Habits

Repetition is more important than volume or the importance of the action itself. The important thing is to put it into practice not in speed, but in the quality of the result.

When we talk about a small change we think of trivial, ridiculous actions. Set a point to start your habit and dedicate 2 minutes to implementing it.

What can you do with two minutes? 10 push-ups, prepare your clothes to go for a run, write two lines of a post …

Every day dedicate these two minutes, when you feel confident increase this and dedicate 2 more minutes to the next action that requires the habit.

Ritualize the process, standardize it before moving on to the next one.


Generate Momentum in your life

Momentum is a double-edged sword. It can propel you to new heights or keep you locked into previous choices and old habits. Years are wasted for the sole reason that we tend to keep doing what we are already doing. Inertia eats up opportunities.

James Clear

Why is it so easy for us to get into bad habits, but so hard for us to form good ones? The simple answer is that bad habits give us instant results, satisfying our instant gratification monkey, while the results that come from good habits are delayed.

Concatenate productive actions and they will magically bring you closer to where you want to go.

Improving 1% every day will lead you to be x37 better than your current self in a year. Conversely, being 1% worse every day for a year takes you back to basically zero.


ProTip

I’m going to show you one of the biggest pain points in today’s society and how you can benefit from it.

Deep Work is one of the most demanded skills in the multitasking society we live in. Knowing how to focus on a single task and not stop until we develop it.

In this new economy, three groups will have a particular advantage: those who can work well and creatively with smart machines, those who are the best at what they do, and those who have access to capital.

Deep work is like a muscle, which means you have to build it.