Search the Blog

Custom Search

Saturday, November 8, 2008

The 80/20 Rule, Parkinson's Law and Physical Fitness

The 80/20 Rule (also referred to as The Pareto Principle) suggests that 80 percent of all results are the product of only 20 percent of all efforts. This principle is used all the time to help explain and codify how resources are distributed within a system.

This idea can be applied to physical fitness just as easily as it can to in business or economics.

Suppose I perform 10 movements during a training session. The Pareto Principle says that two of those 10 movements are providing me with most of my results. What if I focused my efforts on only those two movements? And what would happen if I allotted myself a specific amount of time to perform those movements during the training session? How might those changes effect the results at my next assessment?

Parkinson's Law suggest that work tends to expand to fill the time allotted for its completion, and explains why simple tasks (and tasks with no deadline) take so long to accomplish (or are not accomplished at all). This law is very similar to Student Syndrome, a phenomenon where many people fully apply themselves to a task only at the last possible moment before the deadline.

If I make the deadline concrete—my next assessment; a friend's brithday; Labor Day—I have a finite amount of time to accomplish my fitness goals (Parkinson's Law). To use that time most effectively, I should concentrate on movement patterns that will produce the greatest result for my efforts (The 80/20 Rule). And to take full advantage of the allotted time, I should begin applying myself at full intensity from the very beginning of the program (Student Syndrome).

Look over your own program and see if it can't be improved upon. Where are most of your results coming from? What's your deadline? Do you commit fully to each and every training session?

And don't just stop at your training program; the above principles can be applied to most anything: analyze the situation, break it down, and discard the parts that are of least value. The end result is more productivity in less time.

1 comment:

Derek Peruo said...

Apologies for the unscheduled hiatus between blog posts. I originally planned a more complex entry, but after several edits decided keeping things simple was a better approach.