Wednesday, July 29, 2015

80/20 principle-Applied to our work here!

During a coaching call with one of my favorite scholars, unnamed arts based researcher made the apt connection between the Pareto principle and finishing an article. It was an insightful comment. The Pareto principle, which has been applied far beyond its initial formulation, is taken to suggest that 80% of effort goes into 20% of the effect related to various outcomes.

The exact percent of the effort is not important. What is important to note is that there is a tendency for scholars to put in far more effort at finishing an article then is often needed.  Anxiety and fear, our current topics, play a powerful role here. Afraid of negative outcomes and anxious about letting go of their work, scholars often edit, copywrite, and fret over the number of citations. Did I find every article related to topic X? Have I really justified every discussion point? Double check. Triple check. Obsess.

The review process is so idiosyncratic, so whimsical, that we have to let go.  The goal is not perfection, but to do a strong, workperson like job and then let go.

To the degree possible, be aware of aligning your effort with your production. Don't spend an inordinate about of time on small details; its usually a waste of effort.  We are not able to control everything. Work hard, let go. Move on. Next article :).

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