Thinker. Writer. Editor. Mentor. Coach. I help thought leaders and business experts write and publish books. Here, I'll share my learnings and insights from my work.

Tip 25: Apply the 80/20 rule

January 13, 2016

26 hot tips to write a book like it's a Bikram yoga class


You’re on your stomach, arching your back, lifting your legs high in the air, looking up towards the sky in bow pose, when your Bikram teacher says these words.

‘Practice 80/20 breathing.’

This means you want to keep your lungs 80% full of air, and breathe using only 20%.

In other words, 80% of your pose, the result, will come from 20% of your efforts.

(Thank you, Parento principle.)

So let’s just stop and think about this in terms of your book.

You need to focus your effort on the 20% that makes a difference, instead of the 80% that doesn’t add much at all.

Each additional hour you spend chained to your computer, tapping away because you feel you ‘should’, is actually adding less oomph to the final result.

So you’re likely spending lots of time on the minor details, and messing up all your big-picture ideas.

The 80/20 rule doesn’t mean that you need to stop trying, sit back, and wait for your book to write itself. Rather it means that when you stop trying so hard to write then you’ll have far better results.

You need to leave room to actually breathe.

You need to leave room to focus, write and enjoy it, so you have energy for the end.

Some people take months, years, a lifetime to finish writing a book. They never quite seem to ‘finish it’, or spread themselves thin writing several books at once.

That’s why you need to establish good consistent practices from the start – set your intention, trust your guide, practise the practice, and listen in.

You need the right support around you to focus at all times.

After all, how can you complete seven things if you can’t even start on one?

The 80/20 rule is the only way you’ll sustain momentum.

The 80/20 rule is the only way you’ll reach the end.

So when you catch yourself giving it your all, just stop and remember to breathe – you’ll have a better book as a result.

Hi there, Kelly, a story coach and writer. I help leaders publish and market books. My blog is place where I share my learnings from working with talented leaders.

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