The 85:15 Rule

How much effort is too much effort? I started out my professional career thinking I need to give my work 110% effort, always. ‘Peak performance’ was about maximum effort to get the best results. And then I got married, thinking I can still give it 100% and save some of myself for my marriage. And then I had a baby, making it very clear I cannot give 110 or 100% anymore to my work if I plan to have anything left to give to my life outside of work.

I was quickly becoming burnt out, truly practicing ‘work-life balance’ became a whole new challenge to undertake, and left me thinking – how am I supposed to do this? It was then that I learned about the 85:15 rule – working at 85% capacity and keeping 15% for myself. I’m sure you’re thinking the same thing I did, how is working less supposed to optimize myself at work? It’s not about working less, rather the mindset behind how to get the best out of ourselves and our people. It’s also not about giving less effort necessarily either.

This rule doesn’t mean you don’t work hard, or don’t try as hard as you previously did. What this rule means is giving optimal effort for maximum results, which equates to ‘being on’ around 85% of the time or giving that hard effort 85% of the time. That remaining 15% of energy and effort is reserved to not only combat burnout but have the time and energy to dedicate to the other areas of life outside of work. Whether that be household chores, caring for your children or family members, or simply being present in other areas of life outside of work. It’s to help mitigate that ‘always on’ mind-set many of us find ourselves in today and moving away from the old mindset that operating at 100% is the only way to be a good worker and achieve high results.

Joining Compass provided me the opportunity to put this theory into practice and it’s been a breath of fresh air to be surrounded by a team that not only supports this mindset, but also genuinely encourages it and holds me to it. The 85:15 rule has helped me avoid work burnout, keep some energy for myself, my mental health, bodily health, and most recently, be a present mom while dad was deployed for six months. While I’m optimizing my time and efforts with Compass, it also leaves me with enough left over to find that work-life balance that works for me. Is it perfect all the time? Hardly. Remaining consistent with the efforts to practice this theory will be a life-long challenge, and employers who set the example in support of this just as Compass does, makes that a little less challenging and more doable!

Whether your organization is combating employee burnout currently or looking for progressive ways to stay ahead of the game, Compass is here to help.

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