The 80/20 Rule: Perfectly Efficient

The 80/20 rule, otherwise called the ‘Pareto principle’ states that in many situations, 20% of the inputs are responsible for 80% of the outcomes. This 80/20 rule has a pretty broad range of applications when it comes to considering all sorts of situations. It can be applied to economics, science, business, sports, you name it.

It’s very interesting to me as someone who invests a lot of his free time thinking about Pokémon Cards. I like thinking about principles such as the Pareto Principle and applying them to card games. Aside from that however, I think a lot of people end up wasting a lot of time in ways which are highlighted by the 80/20 rule – myself included. For example email: I regularly need to send emails to colleagues and clients in my job. Occasionally I have to send some fairly important emails, ones where I risk setting incorrect expectations, risk giving incorrect advice or simply talking about something I’m not sure about. As far as my time spent sending emails go, these are the ones which take up 80% of my time.

Now consider yourself!

What I want to call attention to is, how this principle may be taking up time in your life too. Not everybody is like this, but I am sure there are plenty of people out there who invest a lot of time into that 20%. Sometimes it’s appropriate, like scrutinising that resume one last time, but many other times it’s important to remember to forge ahead even when you’re not sure. For me, it’s pushing the send button on that email and reminding myself that it’s better to make mistakes moving forward than standing still, paralysed with fear.

Going back to how I might apply this rule to Pokémon Cards, I can think of several:

  • 80% of your time creating a deck will be spent on 20% of the list
  • 80% of your turn will be spent deliberating 20% of your actions
  • 20% of the top players in Pokémon will top cut 80% of the events they compete in

To name a few. Even though I’m using hard numbers like 80 and 20 percent, it’s not supposed to be very strict. After all, how could I possibly know those statistics? The point is to think about where you are investing your time and think about whether you are wasting it on something that may be trivial in the end. Are you ‘inefficient’ because you want to be ‘perfect’?’.

When I play Pokémon Cards I often tell people: “If I’m not sure between two different actions, I just choose one and if I’m wrong, I remember that for next time”. When I’m spending too much time on something, I try to apply that thinking.

Consistency is King

Consistency is King

Tonight I wasn’t home until sometime just before 7PM. Work ran late – I had some system testing to run through on the back of a proposed change to a system at work. Once I’d finished up in the office, I handed in my temporary pass (first time in a long time I’d left my ID at home) and stepped out into night time.

I caught the 6:13PM train from Brisbane central home. Still early enough to be amongst commuters, but late enough to comfortably secure a seat for myself and hit up Shadowverse on my phone. It’s a Hearthstone-esque digital card game with more emphasis on aggression and combos. It’s also unashamedly anime in its design.

After doing the weekly grocery shop (which came in under $40 this week) I set about cooking dinner. It’s taken me a few years to master cooking for one, but I’ve settled on a usual stir fry with sausages, an assortment of vegetables and Korean cooking sauce. It’s cheap, tasty and relatively healthy (I think). Along with cooking, I also fit in making my lunch for the next day and eating fruit – that second activity doesn’t sound like much, but it is to me. I used to get sick quite often until I had a doctor order me to eat more fruit. I make a point of eating an apple any time I am cooking and just like that I haven’t had anything worse than the sniffles ever since.

Dinner cooked, I sit down to watch a Livestream. Lately I have been tuning into JoshOG because I am obsessed with the game he is playing which is obnoxiously titled ‘PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS‘.  A donation flashed across the stream which asked Josh what tips he might have for a would-be streamer and the very first thought he shared was that it’s important to keep to a schedule – let your viewers know when you would next be online and stick to that plan.

I recounted that long story because its a large part of why I stream very irregularly. I work full-time and I don’t spend my weekends at home. That leaves me with very few hours in the week during which I could stream and I tend to spend those opportunities relaxing in front of my PC, playing whichever game I feel like (often League of Legends) and chatting to my friends on Discord which itself can be a therapeutic activity.

Thinking about what Josh said in his stream about keeping to a schedule got me thinking – could I just shake that mindset and start streaming more regularly? Several times a week? I think I could, if it was what I really wanted to do and if I was willing to make some sacrifices. I also know and value my downtime though – the worst thing I could do for myself and for my work is to burn myself out working 9 to 5 and then coming home to stream from 7 to 12.

I thought about this some more – if streaming is something I can’t do as regularly as I’d like, is there something else I can do? Then I remembered that I have this blog for this reason (amongst others). Blogging is something that I can do on a schedule and something I can do when it suits me (then release on that schedule).

As much as I like streaming and making videos, I can do neither of these things as consistently as writing and so as I’m writing, I’ve decided I should keep on doing this, and hopefully consistently as well. Even if it is just a weekly blog.

Consistency is something I think about a lot in Pokémon Cards as well. Any trading card game will feature some means of consistency, be it through running multiple copies of cards to utilising cards which can search for others. Consistency in Pokémon is important because you want to be able to execute your strategy successfully every single time, or at least enough to win most of your matches during Swiss.

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Shaymin is the consistency king

Never count out the value in consistency. Jerry Seinfeld’s key to success was never breaking the chain and look where that got him. I will do my best to take a leaf out of his book and if anything else, keep writing.

What is this?

What is this?

This is an outlet of sorts. Sometimes I get the urge to write. Often that doesn’t eventuate because I don’t have a place to put it.

Don’t say use Facebook. Facebook sucks. Facebook is:

  1. A meme garden
  2. A social network for things I don’t really care for sharing with people who are probably uninterested
  3. An unrelenting stage play of people’s lives. A place for praise and a place for pity.

What is this really?

It’s a blog existing somewhere between a lifestyle blog and a gaming blog. As an adult working full time, I indulge in a mix of recreational and competitive gaming activities as well as, er, being an adult. I do things like eat at restaurants and pay bills (somehow).

My friends know me as either

  1. Guy who plays Pokémon Cards
  2. Guy who plays Pokémon Cards and has a full time IT job and lives in an apartment

Hopefully I’ve set expectations and I hope to do something with this. Expect a blog post soon!