If you’ve ever had pretty much any type of job, you’ve most likely heard a supervisor or colleague saying, “gotta give it 100%”.
Giving 100% is a nice thought/saying, but is it really do-able at all, and is it even healthy if you can achieve it?
In this post, we’re gonna dig a bit deeper into what is meant by this and why it might be completely unrealistic and maybe even impossible.
What is meant by giving it 100%?
Before we get into whether or not giving it your 100% is even possible, we first have to assess what is even meant by this.
Being at your 100%, in short, means that you’re always active to your maximum ability.
This includes, quite literally, all your activities throughout the day, be it preparing for work, actually working, interacting with the kids/family, etc. Some people focus on giving it 100% solely at work, or at home, but there are those crazy enough who try to be 100% efficient all day, every day.
Giving it 100% is a quite broad and fluid term, as it’s not the exact same thing for every single person out there. First of all, people have different capabilities, meaning that giving 100% might be for you, could be a lot different for somebody else, even if we’re talking about an identical activity.
For example, let’s say you have a colleague with the same workload as you, but you happen to simply be made for the job.
Both of you can still give it your 100%, but you will obviously get more work done due to your personal abilities for said work.
Exactly this is what frustrates many.
Imagine a very competitive work environment, where you are giving it your 100% every day, but for some reason this 1 other person is still ahead of you, even if this person isn’t giving it his/her 100%.
In this scenario, we, as people, have to accept that we’re not always the best at everything, but this doesn’t mean you should give up evolving and trying.
As you continue working on your own abilities, your “100%” will grow and become more and more efficient over time. This also means if you continue working the same job, for example, giving it your 100% might not be necessary after a few years.
You learn to do the same tasks more efficiently, which in turn leads to you spending less time on them, giving you more time to relax to avoid stress.
Is it possible to be at Your 100% best all the time?
This question is probably the most relevant question you should ask yourself, and come to terms with.
Giving it 100% all the time is something pretty much nobody can do; it’s quite literally impossible when you look into it. If you actually gave it 100% at your work, for example, it would mean that you’re nonstop working in a focused state, with minimum breaks and perfect results – does this sound do-able?
In other words, achieving a 100% focused work ethic means you’re probably as close to a robot or AI as humanly possible, which doesn’t exactly sound like an enjoyable existence.
Instead of focusing on being 100% perfect all the time, it’s often a lot more healthy, both physically and mentally, to divide your workload into focus groups. As an example, you probably have tasks at work that requires a lot of focus; this is where you can actually give it close to 100%, but only for some time.
If you constantly try to achieve this 100% perfect work ethic every day, it is highly likely that at least your mental health might drop in turn. We’ll explain how you can avoid doing this, and why it might not even be the best thing to do to achieve great results at work in the next and final section.
The 80/20 principle – and why it matters a lot
The proposed solution to this “being at our 100% best all the time” issue/goal is quite simple.
The 80/20 principle states that: 80% of your output comes from 20% of your input. This means that most people achieve the best results when they lay their focus on the tasks that actually need it and know-how to divide their attention to various tasks.
In a working sense, what is meant by this is that you should learn how to work focused on tasks, and especially when to stop. At the beginning of a project, we tend to be very active as workers and lay our full focus on it; this is where the 80/20 rule plays a vital role.
The first 20% of this project is responsible for 80% of the combined output. So this means that even though you’re only 20% into a project, with high focus, you might have already done close to 80% of the work.
Exactly this scenario is where many workers tend to actually waste time unknowingly. If you’re trying to squeeze out everything you can, unbeknownst that you already did most of the grunt work, you might get burned out and frustrated during your work project.
Instead, you have to become aware of this principle and know when to take a breather from a project, and return once your interest/energy is renewed.
The exact same principle applies to pretty much everything in our lives, whether it’s spending time with the family, building a playhouse for the kids, preparing dinner, or really anything else.
Know when to give it your best, and know when to take a breather. This will help you avoid stress and burning out in your daily life.