From Above



Effort to Fun Ratio

NUGGET: 80% of results will come from 20% of effort

My grandma always called me lazy. Because of her, I grew up with that belief – and yep, I suppose I’ve always been lazy. But, as the years have gone by, I’ve become kinder to myself.

See, I’ve always wanted to understand WHY I need to get up off the couch before I do it. My dad would ask me to do a chore – hold this, lift that. And I always wanted to know why? What was it that we were trying to do? What result were we trying to achieve? I wanted to know, because I wanted to get back to the couch – and I didn’t want to be sitting around waiting for the new order. If I had the whole picture, I could get busy with the other tasks right away so as to finish earlier.

I suppose I always chose to read, watch tv, or whatever else was available. Standing around waiting for something to happen has never been my strong suit. Pretty sure that’s why I avoided cricket and took up golf instead.

In later years, my cousin Igor laid it out for me in a language that has stuck with me ever since – what is the effort to fun ratio? I.e. – how much effort will this take, and what’s the amount of fun to be had? If the effort doesn't result in enough fun to justify the labour, choose not to do it. Or if you had to go into the current business methodology, get someone else to do it.

Problematically, I ended up not doing a lot of worthwhile things in my life. And I had an unhealthy take on the philosophy of doing the absolute minimum to get by academically. I did walk away with all the required honours and degrees – but look, I could have done better.

These days, I look at each opportunity presented to me and I still apply the effort to fun ratio – there are loads of big shiny objects within our reach, and it’s simply a matter of do you want to go for it? Do an Iron Man? Sure, would love to. Do the countless hours of training required to be ready for it. No way, Jose.

Get a PHD? Sure, would love to be called Dr. Do the years of research and academic discipline needed? Err…no…

Have a massive business, get the acclaim and admiration of my peers, be asked to speak at conferences as an industry leader? Sure, my ego would dig that. Spend the time away from the kids, have the sleepless nights and take the risks associated with going big? Not so much.

So these days, it all depends on what wall I’ve set up that ladder.


Make a list of your clients, and two columns next to it.

  • Column 1: FUN (Profit/Revenue)

  • Column 2: EFFORT (Out of 10)

  • You could also have a third column, which could allocate how much of your organizational resources goes to this.

You’ll be startled by the results.

For more exercises on setting intention, download our workbook here.

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