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Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

The Pareto Principle is a simple analytical tool that solves problems in manufacturing, project management, and other professional realms. Commonly known as the 80 / 20 Rule, the Pareto Principle explains that the world is not equitably distributed, and a few factors often have an over-sized influence on results. This rule is useful to spot areas where a small amount of work creates a big payoff.

A few examples:

  • 20% of customers contribute to 80% of sales.
  • On average, 20% of software defects are critical enough to cause 80% of site crashes.
  • 80% of a project’s benefit is likely based on 20% of the effort put into the project. …


Series: Love Letters In the Second Act

Valentines cookie sprinkles in chaos rounded into a heart shaped jar
Valentines cookie sprinkles in chaos rounded into a heart shaped jar
Image Courtesy: Carolyn V / Unsplash

My love,

We are a historical disaster when it comes to Valentine’s Day. We have come to own it and — eventually — find humor in it.

Oy vey.

Year one we had been dating for two months and managed to muster up the courage to trade school kid meme valentines over text. Neither of us knew what we were doing. The last time we had celebrated Valentine’s Days it had been with committed spouses (not necessarily happy ones). Now back in the dating world and six weeks into a new relationship this was not that. Neither of us had the interpersonal communication skills to just say — hey this is a weird day! So we stayed on our respective sides of the city and traded texts. I didn’t even see you for The Big Day. I was okay with space and I think you were relieved. I don’t know because we never talked about it. We’re good at using humor to avoid awkward emotions. …


Series: Love Letters In The Second Act

Couple in blanket looking at each other with love
Couple in blanket looking at each other with love
Image courtesy Pexels / Pixabay

My love,

I heard it the moment it left your mouth. The discount.

As we walked out of the gym tonight one of the gym staff stopped you — in front of me — to compliment your obvious muscle gains and weight loss. We’ve been at this personal training regimen for the past ten weeks together and you’ve made some real improvements.

You discounted that praise as soon as we got in the car together.

“You know,” you started, in the gloam of a dark truck cab on the way home after. “I’m a dude, I’m going to drop weight faster at first than you are. …


The no-excuses system to make changes that stick.

Cut flowers in mason jars of water with reflection
Cut flowers in mason jars of water with reflection
Image courtesy Maria Shanina on Pixabay

“We are what we repeatable do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” — Aristotle

This past summer I set a goal to drink more water. I knew the health benefits, I was motivated to incorporate more H20 into my life by dreams of hydrated skin and flushed out toxins. I planned to pour myself a pint glass of water in the morning, again in the afternoon, and have some beside my bed at night. Since I was in the habit I’d probably be inclined to drink more in between.

That was it — my whole plan start to finish. …


Empathy, Empowerment & Action

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Photo credit: Austin Distel, Unsplash

My sure fire way to seek inspiration? Read a great book or add a new podcast to my playlist — works every time. New concepts spark my curiosity and help connect information in new ways. This month I have selected books by Trevor Noah and Celeste Ng that I want to raise to attention for their ability to broaden cultural awareness and empathy for human struggle. While our books in November build empathy, the podcast series I highlight this month by Cathy Heller is all about empowerment and action. She and her stellar guests had me nodding my head and muttering ‘Yeah! My day job might be on notice!” …


Joy is a birthright

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It’s funny how the guilt could creep in while I was on vacation last week — what should I be doing that I’m not? What am I missing that might be letting others down? Shhhh. Relax. Enjoy.

Emily McDowell (Illustrator, writer, and business founder) hit home on this topic — “I’m not sure why we are here on earth but I know it’s not so we can feel guilty and make spreadsheets and reply to emails until we die.”

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Emily McDowell on Instagram: @emilyonlife

I felt that. I felt that with the joy and purpose and meaning I seek to give and receive from my creative work. I felt that with the spark of wonder and creativity I’m bringing back with me from a week away. And I felt that with the burnout that can come with being passionately engaged in your work and the never ending emails and spreadsheets and decisions and grind that can come with the territory. …


Increase productivity + focus by adopting these simple changes

Five morning micro habits to increase productivity and focus in your day
Five morning micro habits to increase productivity and focus in your day
Photo credit Ryan Johns, Unsplash

What are micro-habits?

Let’s say you set a milestone goal (those big, audacious goals that seem attainable, but barely) to compete in an upcoming triathlon in your city. This is a challenge to your current comfort zones but you have visualized the results and are buzzing with possibility. You know in order to train for that competition you need to be in the gym more regularly than you are now but ramping up to a regular, intense training workout regimen seems daunting. This is an easy spot for your brain to tell you — don’t even try it. …


Get inspired to think bigger

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Photo credit: Austin Distel, Unsplash

One of the best ways to get myself out of a mental rut is to put on an inspired podcast or open a book (physical or otherwise). Infusing a new train of thought into my internal dialogue wakes up my brain and gets me thinking in new directions. This month I am sharing a few recent favorites to help you change up thought patterns, gain focus on your most important tasks, and inspire you to think bigger.

Want to share book tips in real time? Join me on Goodreads.

Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World — Cal Newport

Deep Work by Cal Newport book cover
Deep Work by Cal Newport book cover

This book was nothing short of daily-life changing for me, and I don’t say that lightly. I would finish a chapter and have to call someone and tell them what I read. “Hey — did you know that the reason you should knock out your most difficult tasks in the morning is because your mind has a limited amount of mental energy each day? If you check email first you spend all your energy task switching between subjects and you’re tired without actually having accomplished much!” …


Creative pursuits after hours give you surprising advantages in the workplace

Colorful messy creative paint brushes in a pile
Colorful messy creative paint brushes in a pile
Photo by RhondaK Native Florida Folk Artist, Unsplash
  • By boosting your cognitive flexibility you will increase your chance of breakthrough thinking and creative problem solving.
  • Flexible, creative thinking gets stronger with time and practice. You control these outcomes!
  • Side gigs, passion projects, hobbies and play can all contribute to a more creative mind.

Multi-what’s?

Emma Watson is a highly accomplished actor. She is also an Oxford graduate with an English degree, she’s modeled for the likes of Burberry and Lancôme, is famously active as a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations, and a global advocate for gender equality. Ms. Watson turns 30 next year.

You may know that former NFL player Terry Crews is now an actor but did you know he also went to college on an art scholarship? Terry Crews has regularly painted on commission, and even worked as a courtroom sketch artist. …


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Photo credit: Ross Findon, Unsplash
  • Continuous improvement is a quality technique that makes products and processes better over time
  • Personal life can benefit from continuous improvement and give back precious time to your day
  • You can adopt a continuous improvement mindset today and start seeing results as early as tomorrow.

Where did the time go?

Have you ever looked around at your full life at the end of the day and thought — where did the time go? You probably got your most important tasks met for the day — cheers! You may have had a few more items you wanted to get knocked off your list that you didn’t quite get to. Often those items are what you want to do — hit the gym, work on a passion project, catch up with a friend. …

About

Jess Anderson

I help busy people optimize life. Business technologist. Fan of human potential, creativity, collaboration, entrepreneurial spirit. jessandersonatwork.com

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