I learned about the 80-20 rule at a “Seminar on Private Sector Development” on a beautiful tiny island, Kosrae, a State of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) in the Central Pacific just above the Equator. The Micronesia Institute, a 501-c-3 that I had founded, ran a series of programs bringing American professionals together with their counterparts in different MIcronesian nations, to meet their requests for help in building their private sectors.
On two of these trips, George Washington U. business professor Marilyn Liebrenz-Himes, as a volunteer, led programs – I can’t call them “lectures” for they were so lively and she walked around the lecture hall so much talking directly to different participants – on managing time. According to business leaders, when a work is 80% completed, go with it and meet the deadline. No one will notice the 20% of other items you wanted to add. She also taught us that one should take a short break every 15 minutes and return refreshed. Another trick: in her office, when she didn’t want to be disturbed, she would wear a hat, and people waited till she took it off before speaking to her. In Chuuk, another of the islands, Marilyn came to be called the “blonde bombshell” as she was most attractive. (When I learn how, I’ll post a photo of her in the islands.)
So back to editing: I became very annoyed with making type sizes and fonts and hyphens and commas and indents consistent before the lyrics in HONEY were presentable for publication. My wonderful daughter Tina inherited her architect father’s eye for detail and every time I declared the text perfect enough, really now, 80% is fine!, she would find another lot of errors. She stopped making corrections in red because I find text corrections in red to be an angry, slash-and-burn color and that gives me tantrums; she marked in blue, with updates in hot pink. Long past the 80%, we’re now at 98% and I missed my first two deadlines. But the book benefits from it, and so will its readers.
I’ll have a “deadline” anecdote for you on my next blog; this one takes place in Chuuk, also in the FSM