Default to action, leave space for the edits.Anthony Ongaro
When it comes to getting more done, most people think adding more things to an already busy schedule is the answer to the problem.
Those people are wrong.
“It’s all about the rewrite” is an expression often heard in writing circles.
How it works is you start writing without worrying too much about what you’re writing so you can get out your ideas. Later, you go back to make edits to what you wrote and work to shape it into what you had originally intended, or perhaps into something even better.
The rewrite is a beautiful practice and one that applies to just about all the spaces in our lives—spaces that can be physical, mental or how we use our time.
Most of us tend to treat our lives and spaces like a blank piece of paper waiting to be filled from corner to corner. An opportunity to fit in as much as we can, with little space in the margins.
It’s a natural human desire to efficiently use the spaces we have. But if you fill every inch of the paper, you won’t have space to make any notes for edits, to try different things, or to rearrange what’s there. This is one of the main reasons why in school, teachers often have you turn in papers double-spaced with margins—so there’s space included for any notes or adjustments.
The 70-30 Principle is about defaulting to action but leaving 30 percent for space to optimize the things you do.
This is actually a lesson that hit me really hard a few months ago. Despite being aware of the positive impact of decluttering physical and other things in my life, it still found a way to sneak up on me.
Amy and I had to step back and take a break from all the work we had overwhelmed ourselves with. The reality was, we had taken on way too much and were trying to work faster and harder in an attempt to, “get ahead.”
Because of this, we weren’t doing any of it as well or as efficiently as we could have. When we finally took a step back to create the space, we made so many realizations about what Break the Twitch is actually about and what work we’re here to do. It was wildly clarifying to have some space where we could rearrange, make some decisions, and zone in on the essential.
Minimalism is what allows us to get that 30 percent margin.
Removing distractions from our lives removes the clutter and creates more space, not just in the physical world, but mentally, emotionally, and how we spend our time as well. The space we create is the margin that enables us to notice, rearrange, and make things better.
It’s important to still do the work.
On the other hand, spending all our time just thinking about how to make things better isn’t going to do us any good if there’s no doing involved. As I mentioned, still default to action 70 percent of the time. But make sure you’re not taking on too much or consider scaling back what you have going on so you have room to do things better.
If the 70-30 Principle sounds like something you can benefit from, I’ve been working hard to build a community of like-minded people who understand the biggest changes come from the small actions repeated daily over time. People who are willing to do the work to get the changes they actually want in life.
I invite you to join us and be a part of the amazing group of 100+ people creating change in their own lives. There are exclusive monthly in-depth videos, audio courses, and a ridiculous number of valuable things that come with it, too.
You can apply the 70-30 Principle to just about everything.
Look in different areas of your life—how you’re spending your time or in your physical spaces. For example, see if you can leave 30 percent of space on your bookshelf, in your closet or in different areas of your home.
The 70-30 Principle also translates to time-space as well. Building in that 30 percent margin before obligations, appointments or projects that we have going on allows us to be on time even with delays or surprises. It enables us to properly prepare and show up fully, instead of rushing around, going from one thing to the next.
For the biggest impact, apply the 70-30 Principle to an area of your life that you care about, ideally one you interact with regularly and frequently. Remember to start small, and go on from there to other areas.
We simply do not need to use every little bit of space—whether it’s mental, time and physical—to its full capacity anymore.
In fact, it’s detrimental to do so.
Working towards the 70-30 Principle over time has helped me focus better and truly own my attention. I’ve gained more awareness of how I’m spending my time and benefited from looking at the things I’m doing to see how I can consistently do them better.
So perhaps, living our best lives with the 70-30 Principle is much like the practice of writing. Just like writing, the most important thing is to default to action—doing the best we can at the moment with what we have. And then comes leaving room for the rewrite, so we can try again, improve, and make changes that will affect the outcome as we do better and better, a little bit each time.