Book Summary: The 80% Approach by Dan Sullivan

Procrastination is a productivity killer!  We have all experienced this before, when you have a task or project on your list that just keeps lingering and you keep finding ways to avoid tackling it.

Productivity, the very opposite of procrastination, is a big theme for me in 2016 so when I heard about Dan Sullivan’s book The 80% Approach I decided to add it to my list and give it a read.  What I found was a very impactful 40 pages of practical advice on how to avoid procrastination by leveraging the 80% Approach.

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The concept is pretty simple, as the title states, Dan recommends that whenever you have a task or a project you immediately work on completing 80% of it as quickly as possible.  He argues that in most cases 80% completion is good enough to get going and there is no sense in wasting any time to get started or trying to finish the remaining 20%.

My favorite quote from the book is:

“By eliminating procrastination, especially in teamwork, we help others save time, improve their talents, and transform negative emotions.”

Then he goes on to say:

“When one person eliminates procrastination, getting things done as quickly as possible or even ahead of schedule, it has a dramatic impact on all the other members of the team. A sense of positive urgency is communicated to everyone: If he or she got it done that quickly, I should do the same thing.”

These two quotes really hit home for me because I work on a lot of projects in collaboration with my team.  Many times they are waiting for my feedback or contribution in order to complete the work.  So when I procrastinate and waste time, I’m negatively impacting the entire time.

In the book Dan shares the 8 advantages of the 80% approach which are:

1) First attempts are never more than 80%
2) 80% is good enough 80% of the time
3) Recognizing who should handle each 80%
4) The power or getting 80% done quickly
5) Why 80% is always better than 100%
6) Delegating the “second” 80% quickly and often
7) Eliminating procrastination improves everything
8) Who 80% achievers outperform perfectionists

For anyone looking for a simple way to avoid procrastination and be more productive I highly recommend checking out Dan’s book.

PS – I wrote this blog post based on the 80% Approach.  Normally I would have waited for a few weeks but I just opened up my computer and started typing away, 15 minutes later I was done and felt great about it.

  • Jeremiah Ramsey

    That’s helpful, thanks for the summary. And I like it that you used the 80% Approach in writing up the summary. 🙂

    • Thanks for the comment Jeremiah, glad you liked the post. And hopefully you enjoy the book too.