What Is The Theory Of Constraints And How It Can Change Your Life

When I first started an internet business and began studying online marketing, and in particular lifestyle design and productivity, I came to identify myself with the 80/20 Rule.

You can read my original post explaining how the 80/20 Rule came into my life here – What Is The 80/20 Rule And Why It Will Change Your Life.

Another principle I later applied, which is the perfect companion to the 80/20 Rule, is the Theory of Constraints.

The Theory of Constraints is very relevant for building a blogging and information publishing business, or really anything in life. I thought it was about time I explained how I use this principle and how you can apply it in your life and business.

What Is The Theory Of Constraints?

Let’s start with a definition from Wikipedia:

The theory of constraints (TOC) adopts the common idiom “A chain is no stronger than its weakest link” as a new management paradigm. This means that processes, organizations, etc., are vulnerable because the weakest person or part can always damage or break them or at least adversely affect the outcome.

The analytic approach with TOC comes from the contention that any manageable system is limited in achieving more of its goals by a very small number of constraints, and that there is always at least one constraint. Hence the TOC process seeks to identify the constraint and restructure the rest of the organization around it.

The full Wikipedia entry goes on to explain steps to apply the Theory of Contraints, in particular to large scale manufacturing, which is where it can be especially useful (it’s great for improving efficiency of systems made up of many people and processes).

I like to apply the Theory of Constraints on a smaller, more personal scale, in terms of what I need to do to complete a project. It’s particularly helpful when determining the order of priority to get things done.

The 80/20 Rule states that only a few things are responsible for most outcomes. The majority doesn’t have a big impact, hence you should focus on the few things that matter most.

The Theory of Constraints helps you figure out exactly what those few things are because it forces you to look at what you are trying to achieve and what is stopping you from doing so. The activities you should do are about eliminating or “opening up” the constraints, which thus become the 80/20 jobs – those responsible for the greatest return.

How I Apply The Theory Of Constraints

For any change I want to make in my life there are three key steps –

  1. Gain clarity about what I want
  2. Comprehend the system I am going to use to get it
  3. Execute the system in the right order of steps

People are usually good at step one, at least in a vague sense. Often we don’t understand exactly what we want until we go after it, and realize we wanted something else, or we changed what we want as time goes by and we grow.

For the purposes of this article I’m going to avoid the personal development discussion this line of thinking opens up and stick with a more simple principle of knowing what you want.

For example, if you know you want to make $3,000 a month from an online business so you can quit your job, that’s a fairly reasonable goal, one that has tangible outcomes you can measure and one that many other people have done, so you have examples to learn from.

The next step is to research how to achieve this goal, figure out your options and choose the best one for you. From there you study the system so you understand it in principle and comprehend how all the pieces go together, even if you have never actually done it before and don’t know all the tiny details. You are looking to form a macro or birds-eye understanding of the system you are going to build. Then you just follow the steps until you have what you want.

Easy right? Well not quite.

This is where the Theory of Constraints can be really helpful. You can use it to ascertain what is missing in order to move through each step. Your job is then to go as far back as necessary to solve the problem that is stopping you from completing the next step, and so on and on.

Let me explain with some examples from my life…

Example 1: Conducting A Product Launch

When I was going to release my first information product I had a lot to learn. I knew what I wanted to do: launch my product and get as many people to buy it as I could. I wanted the income of course, but I was equally as keen on the experience and seeing what having my own product would do for my business and brand.

The next step was to gain a better understanding of what I wanted to do. I followed a lot of online launches in the internet marketing space at this time. This was during the very start of the “Big Launch” period that took over the internet marketing space from about 2005 onwards. I dissected the launches completed by guys like John Reese (Traffic Secrets), Mike Filsaime (Butterfly Marketing), Stompernet and of course, Product Launch Formula by Jeff Walker.

By watching these launches, buying a couple of the products and receiving access to review copies, I was able to get a good grasp, at least conceptually, of how a launch of an information product should go.

Knowing the big picture is a good start, but it then needs to be broken down into individual components. You have to get practical and actually create the pieces of the puzzle needed to execute your plan.

In this case for my launch I wrote down what I believed were necessary at the time –

  • A large enough audience to promote to (my email list and blog readership)
  • A free resource like a report to give away
  • Landing page to send traffic to
  • Sales page to sell the product
  • The product people get for their money
  • A membership site that delivers the product
  • Email sequence to deliver the product
  • Email sequence to launch the product
  • Affiliate system to capture affiliate details and distribute promo tools like banners, emails and articles
  • Email sequence to make sure affiliates are promoting at the right time and often
  • An affiliate manager to work with and recruit affiliates
  • Tech person to make sure the servers and websites are all good to go
  • Designer to create my web pages look and feel, logos, banners, etc
  • Copywriter for the landing page and sales page
  • A shopping cart that has been tested, including making sure affiliate commissions are tracked

…and so on and on.

This list continued to grow and grow as I thought of more things I could do, more items I could include, or give away during the launch and more people I could connect with. Eventually I had to just stop and decide to get busy, otherwise I would never actually launch my product.

From this point forward I started to checklist what I had already done and what needed doing still. The Theory of Constraints comes to play here because certain things must be developed before others.

For example, for affiliates I need a software solution that gives them their affiliate tools and tracks their sales, and I need this before I can start recruiting affiliates. First I need to install the software, then I need to fill it with promotional tools, then I need to invite affiliates to sign up. Plus of course I need the tech person and designer to set all of these things up.

Hence, the first jobs are – find a designer and tech person!

There are many interdependencies between each element and there is a most-efficient sequence to set everything up. The first time you do it, it takes the longest because you make the most mistakes and do things in the wrong order.

As I continued to do online launches, each was easier and quicker than the previous because I knew what I was doing. I had many of the tools already in place and I wasn’t doing as much testing, I was simply executing what I knew already worked from previous campaigns.

At the time I called what I was doing simply “problem solving”, but I was actually doing more than that. I was solving problems in an intelligent order, looking at what was the constraint that had to be solved first before solving the next problem, and so on. Combining this with the 80/20 Rule and some clarification of what I really wanted from an online business, led to a very lean and desirable system, one I began calling the “2-hour work day” (read more here – The Real Secret To A 2-Hour Work Day).

Example 2: Meeting People And Getting Dates

One of the other aspects of my life I have worked on to change previously where the Theory of Constraints has been helpful, is how I met girls to date, and with my social life in general.

I was frustrated for much of my high school and university days with how I met people. Thanks to a combination of being very shy and entrepreneurial, meaning I didn’t meet people through work or work related functions, I wasn’t having the kind of social experiences I wanted.

When it came to dating, I was basically relying on meeting friends of friends, which can be a great way to meet people, but very limited, especially when your friends are in steady relationships and pretty much spend all their time with partners. I was lucky if I had one social outing to go to each month that actually had new people I didn’t already know.

I decided to do something about it.

First I identified what exactly I wanted. Meeting girls I’d like to date was the big picture goal, but I wasn’t sure exactly what context this could happen in. As a result, I gave myself the goal of experimenting with different types of social environments to meet people to see which I enjoyed and which resulted in meeting the types of girls I was interested in. I did some research to learn more about my problem and how other people had solved it. I also began to look for events I could attend.

As I turned my focus on this aspect of my life I came to a challenging realization – one that I had known for a long time but was too afraid to confront.

My constraint was me.

I had no problem seeing girls I’d like to meet, it was the “meeting” part that was hard. I realized what I needed to work on was my shyness. Not being able to talk to people was the constraint that stopped me from moving forward. No matter what the context, if I didn’t work on me first, I wasn’t going to get dates.

I could write a whole book on my process of becoming more confident approaching and talking to the opposite sex, but I don’t have the space for it here, and plenty of people have already covered this topic elsewhere online. What I can say is after improving my ability to talk to strangers, I opened the door to more and more constraints.

For example, even if I could start conversations, that didn’t necessarily lead to getting contact details from a girl. Then even if I got contact details, that didn’t mean I could get a date. There were a lot of constraints to work through, but without solving that first initial problem of being to afraid to talk to strangers, in particular pretty female strangers, I would not get any further.

The Theory of Constraints in this situation was helpful because I could become very singular with my focus. Once I knew that shyness was the problem, I worked on that. Once I was more confident in that department, I started working on conversation skills, then how to ask for contact details from someone and build enough rapport so asking for a date was not a painful process for either party. I also had to get used to things like being rejected and not attaching myself to a specific result, skills that help in all aspects of life, but are perhaps most helpful in dating and in business.

More Examples

There are so many examples where the Theory of Constraints is prevalent.

Take weight training.

I notice when I do barbell curls my forearm gives in way before my actual bicep does. I could work the bicep using a focused machine, but by using freeweights I build up all the supporting muscles as well. If I want a strong body I need to make sure the weakest muscle in every muscle group is developed or that is the point where I will fail, no matter how strong the rest of my muscles.

I’m using the Theory of Constraints right now in my startup, CrankyAds.com. We have certain assumptions about our business model we need to test, however before we can test them, we need a critical mass of users. To get a critical mass of users, we need key features of our software to be functional.

Presently we have only one full time developer, my co-founder Walter, working on the software. It’s a slow process with one developer, so we need to hire more. To hire help, we need the funds to pay them adequately. To raise funds to develop our software, we need investors. To convince investors, we need contacts and a pitch. To make contacts and construct a pitch, I need to attend events and study how to raise funds.

Phew! …That’s a long trail back to one constraint, our lack of experience raising funds, which is the constraint I am personally working on right now.

Take A Look At What REALLY Stops You

The sometimes harsh truth is that we often know what the main constraint is that is stopping our success, but because it is hard, or we don’t like the job that needs to be done, or we are afraid, we put it off. We then blame all kinds of things for stopping our success, even when we know there really are just one or two things that need to be done to start the ball rolling.

In my experience coaching students how to make money blogging people usually face two big failure points –

  1. Putting a lot of energy into a subject that will never deliver the result you want (typically a stable income)
  2. Not being very good at marketing what you are doing

Unfortunately the challenge of reconciling a passion with a profit is often very difficult. There are times where no matter how much you love a subject and are prepared to do the hard work, it won’t ever be a money maker for you. Of course you can’t know this for sure until you try.

The other key ingredient, which is a mandatory requirement, is traffic – or really marketing – an ability to get enough people to pay attention to what you are doing. This is where most people fail and I would suggest is where I would begin your quest to find your big constraint – it is probably a lack of audience.

Of course a lack of audience is a big concept and not the real constraint. The real constraint is what you are not doing right now that would bring you an audience. There are so many resources to learn how to drive traffic or how to market a small business that knowledge is not an excuse. There has to be another reason why, and it’s probably got a lot more to do with some kind of limiting belief.

I looked deeply at why I think people fail in this article –

What Is The REAL Reason People Do NOT Succeed Online?

After reading that article you will have an insight into identifying the real constraints stopping you because almost all of them will relate to how you feel about doing something. A knowledge or skill gap is usually not a constraint, or at least it’s not one that lasts very long because you can easily hire help or learn how to do something. The real constraint is whatever emotional condition is stopping you from getting the job done.

I faced a lot of fear about doing a product launch, which led to a lot of procrastination. I spent almost a year “preparing” an ebook that I never released. Why? Because I was comfortable writing my blog and making a “good enough” if not life changing income from it.

Once some mentors came along and gave me enough of a shake to point out the huge opportunity I was missing, I finally committed to releasing my own product. From that point it took me less than six months to create and launch a membership site, which ended up delivering over $15,000 a month income to my bottom line.

Why did I finally do it? Because I decided that I was ready and I realigned my expectations to make it possible for me to get it done. I decided that I would do it for the experience, regardless of the financial outcome. I committed, knew the big picture of what I wanted to do, and ate the elephant one bite at a time, spending time on the project every day until I launched my course.

Break Down Your Constraints

In order to make the most of the Theory of Constraints you will need to ask a lot of “why” questions.

I introduced the concept of a Why train, or a sequence of asking why in this article – How To Develop A Crystal Clear Understanding Of Your Customer – which focused on gaining a true understanding of the motivation behind why your customers make decisions.

The same principle should be applied to discovering your constraints. You will know the big picture problem you face, for example a lack of traffic, or a lack of a profitable topic, or a lack of a tech person to help you, but understanding the true constraints means you need to dig deeper.

For example, if you do not have a website, and you know you need one to have an online business, then you need to figure out how to solve this problem.

Why don’t I have a website?

Because you don’t have a tech person to build it for you.


Because you do not know how to find one.


Because you haven’t dedicated the time to research where to find a tech person.


Because you choose to spend your time reading articles because it’s easier and makes you excited about your potential to build a profitable online business.

See the constraint here? It’s a productivity issue based on how you use your time and how you link your motivation to what you are doing. The problem is a lack of a website, which leads to the constraint of a lack of a tech person, which then leads to the true constraint, you not making the time to find a tech person.

There are all kinds of hidden constraints that you won’t discover until you really take a drilled down approach to each problem you have.



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Problem Solving For Today

In my experience, the Theory of Constraints helps to focus and drill down your big picture goals into small problems and then guides you towards step-by-step solutions to solve these problems. It helps you understand what you can do today, so you are ready to solve tomorrow’s problem tomorrow.

The Theory makes me think about only the one job I need to work on now, knowing that job is a crucial piece of the puzzle to realize the big goal I am working towards (even if that goal is far away at this point). It helps me create a sense of moving forward on a daily basis, yet also helps me gain clarity on how each problem is interconnected with the big problems I am trying to solve – especially the one main problem my business is meant to help my customers solve.

I hope this introduction to the Theory of Constraints can help you in similar ways.

As a next step, I recommend you read my article on the 80/20 Rule. It’s old, but with over 600 shares on facebook, it remains one of the most popular articles ever published to Entrepreneurs-Journey.

What Is The 80/20 Rule And Why It Will Change Your Life

Yaro Starak

Photo courtesy of Nina Matthews Photography

About Yaro

Yaro Starak is the author of the Blog Profits Blueprint, a report you can download instantly to learn how to make $10,000 a month, from only blogging 2 hours per day. You can find Yaro on Facebook, Twitter and .

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  • Excellent Article Yaro, first I read and then my dad read it as well. This is probably the first time I read an article this long….thanks to you and Penguin..if u knw what I mean (LOL)….seriously well written.

    • Hah, yes the Penguin books are long too. Glad you enjoyed my article, and your dad too.

  • Thank Yaro, an article with best fitting idea. I like when you writed down “ I faced a lot of fear about doing a product launch, which led to a lot of procrastination. I spent almost a year “preparing” an ebook that I never released. Why? Because I was comfortable writing my blog and making a “good enough” if not life changing income from it.”
    The big picture is “ a comfort zone” and “fear to change”. I believe everybody know where is the way to the top ? But most of them or us do not take the action, because we do not like or fear with the “new territory” …thank I like and love reading your article.

  • Great stuff Yaro.

    Sort of like saying “what is preventing me from moving forward and reaching my goal right now?” Then, attack that with everything you have.

    Rinse and repeat.

    Identify and knock down your constraints, one by one.

    The bonus in doing this consistently is that you build momentum. Success breeds more success. Positive action feeds on itself as you get excited by moving closer to your goal.

    At least that is how it worked for me when I saw my online income scaling up…

  • Great way to define and plan out your short or long term goals in a step by step way……thank you Yaro

  • I wonder how well one of those groups like RSD or Pick Up 101 or even Eben Pagan (with his businesses that show men and women how to connect with each other) would do if they did a joint venture with businesses like yours that target entrepreneurs?

    I have the same “Being a wussy” challenge when it comes to talking to strangers as you did and I originally found out about Eben’s Get Altitude seminar when he very first came on the scene from his dating site auto-responder. He just sent a quick email sending you to squeeze page that said if you were interested in learning from him about what it takes to build a business to just click on the link and check out what he had going on. So it seems to me that anyone with a business site could easily flip it around.

    There’s definitely a market there – especially in the internet marketing niche where it skews to people being BOTH lone rangers and younger side. And hell, at worst, it’s worth a test or even putting feelers out for. 🙂

  • Great article. There are a ton of things holds me back right now, both online and in my personal life. I’ve found that I have been able to figure out the problem, I just don’t have the courage to face it. It’s so easy to get comfortable and avoid doing what you need to do. Using the theory of constraints should help me move past that. Digging deeper and finding exactly what the weak link will get the ball rolling and help me do what needs to be done to move forward. Thanks for the inspiration.

  • Hey Yaro,

    You (personally) have been posting a lot lately, and I have really enjoyed some very interesting interviews (podcasts).
    It looks like you have changed your “multi-writer magazine” format. What is your strategy and reasons behind this move?

  • What an absolutely fantastic post! Geez, it hit me right between the eyes, which is what I needed. Years ago I used a tool we called the “5 Whys” when I was analyzing processes for improvement in the military. I’ve used it and recommended it many times since and usually it’s the first time others have heard of it. Candidly, it’s what I need right now as I’ve been developing a product for launch and have been hitting “snags.” Deep down I know the “snag” is me. Thanks for the kick in the pants…I know I can do this.

  • Hi Yaro,
    80/20 Rule is more important, than most people think. We should try to use it, if possible. But sometimes it’s very hard to implement it, especially into personal life 🙂
    BR, Chris

  • This is a really comprehensive post, I love it! So many things in life are determined by our perspective, realizing you can influence the way that you think about things is the first step to being free to do the things you want.

  • The 80/20 rule on outcomes for your actions. Interesting, I never heard of it, but it makes sense.

  • Yaro.

    This post must have taken weeks to write! Or at least, that is the way it seems to me. Such rich examples and great writing. Lots of personal self-disclosre that is revealing and motivating as one of your regular readers from you blog.

    Thanks again,

    Daniel Tetrault.
    Victoria, BC

  • Anyone who wants to understand the Theory of Constraints more should check out a book called The Goal by Goldratt (the “father” of modern TOC). It’s a fictional book, but really paints a great picture of all the intricacies of the theory.

  • I really enjoyed reading this article. It has made me realize the the number one thing that is holding me back from reaching my goals is “fear.” I guess I don’t have enough evidence to believe in what I am doing. But, thanks to you, Yaro, I see now that I just have to focus on what’s stopping me, and take action. Thanks again!

  • Great article, Yaro. I wish I read it 10 years ago. Though I would always find a way to eliminate the constraint and to move forward – otherwise I wouldn’t be an entrepreneur – it wasn’t planned nor deliberate.

    I’ll try to implement your thoughts in a big project I’m starting this year, and I guess I will be able to see the situation much more clearly now.

    When you’re an entrepreneur, the most important battle you must win is the one inside yourself. You obviously know that and write good articles to help us win the battle. Thanks!

  • Connie

    Hi Yaro,
    This article has given me inspiration and encouragement in an interesting and unexpected way. My husband died last August and I was his full time carer for over 2 years and I have a young child. I came out of this utterly exhausted on every level, unfit, unable to sleep properly, you name it. Whatever I tried to do since in terms of making money has been extremely difficult or I had to stop because I couldn’t cope. My constraint is me – unless I start to look after myself, take time out, build my fitness, have a top diet, have massages, improve the quality of my sleep etc. I will not succeed in making money. Looking after myself and getting myself back on track is the utmost priority otherwise nothing else will work. I have to forget about everything else for a while and build me, not a business. Thank you for giving me a logical, legitimate and scientifically proven reason to look after myself. I am starting right now!

    • Right on Connie! It’s great when you can say having a massage helps you make money :-), and truthfully looking at the big picture with you at the center, it does!

    • Way to go Connie. You’re bang on. The first step is always the hardest but the most important!

  • Sylvia

    This post is a gem. Thank you so much!

  • Cathy Pullins

    Thank you. I particularly like the line, ” I decided that I would do it for the experience, regardless of the financial outcome.” That one gives me something to hold onto as I combat fear.

  • This is a really useful article. Great at helping people to focus and identify what holds them back the most, and then make a plan to deal with it. Many times it takes practice to overcome a certain behaviour or mindset.

    I identified my one of my biggest constraints as not wanting to part with money. Especially for very small amounts, the time I spent analysing whether something was worth the money or not was totally disproportionate, and held me back. It’s something I had to work on really hard as it had been ingrained in me from a very early age. Becoming aware of that issue was the biggest step in overcoming it.

  • Hi Yaro, I remember the 20/80 from the road map to become a blogger. Its been a long time.

  • It seems to me the biggest constraint I have is “me”. Knowledge + Action = RESULTS….I need to work on the action part of that formula!

  • J

    I really like the articles that you have posted for the last couple of weeks. I especially like this one because it help me bring into view something that has been slowing my progress. I am not organized and my priorities are not organized.The theory of constraints is right on point with the stage that I am currently in. I am going to try and apply the 80/20 rule and see what will happen.
    I know what step one is for me but some how I am still delaying it and I think it is because it is an easy step but it requires detail and I am apprehensive about getting the details done correctly. I am tired of the apprehension so, I am going to take it slow but I am going to get moving. Great article can wait to read your next.

  • HT

    Thanks Yaro so much for this article. Many times I procrastinate more than I dare to admit, and I think this Theory of Constraint article is challenging me to take my processes to another level of productivity.

    Thanks again!

  • Yaro, I have been an avid follower of your blog for a while now. Your blog is like ageing wine (each post just gets better than the last ) and is one of the only blogs where I actually read EVERY post.

    I’m also a true believer of the 80/20 rule and I like the way you’ve incorproated the Theory of Constraints into this today. In my own business and when I am coaching my clients, the 80/20 rule helps me get clear on what’s important and what’s not. I often find, the “weakest link” in any business is the business owner themselves by not getting out of their own way and either (1) not outsourcing what they suck at (we can’t all be good at everything right?) (2) not accepting that one of their products sucks and should be either replaced or developed into a new product and (3) not being realistic about what they can achieve in a reasonable time frame. I am a culprit in all these 3 areas myself as well, but the 80/20 rule helps me fine tune where I need to go, and the steps I need to get there.

    Thanks Yaro, once again, you light the way

    Francesca Esposito-Rose
    Chief Digital Strategist & Business Coach @ thelikeffect

  • I really enjoyed reading this post – it applies to so many aspects of our lives, beyond businesses and relationships.
    In the health sector, I see folks facing these kinds of “barriers” everyday – whether it’s about losing weight, exercising, eating and lifestyle habits, etc.
    Constraints, excuses, fear of change – all the things you have mentioned above – often stop us from having the level of health we deserve.
    I often ask my clients: What’s the “real” reason you have this health problem – and when we get down to the nitty gritty, you’d be amazed at the answers – and the results that can be achieved when those barriers come down.

  • Great article, its funny what can be constraining. For me its having too many ideas, and not focusing on one, to even see if that one idea can make money, I love the ideas and creating process. Maybe I need more Focus..

  • Joe

    Great, deep article (as always).

    Humans are sometime are own worse enemy’s. If we didn’t worry what everyone thought and just let ourselves go – we would have more successes I believe. Anyway, it is how I live my own life.

  • What an informative post. I had not heard about the Theory of Constraints, and you have explained it very well. I could see what is preventing me from reaching my goals. Thank you for taking the time to clearly spell out what we need to do and how to get there so that we can achieve success.

  • Olga

    Frankly, it was surprising, Yaro, to read your account of your effort to streamline your dating. From what we see from your website etc, you are obviously such an attractive guy, in so many ways. I would think – and I really mean it – there would be a line of women to meet you, no kidding. But then maybe women in Australia are a different breed, who knows.

    The problem for those of us working from home – and you point it out, too – is that it is easy to fall into the habit of just working alone at home most of time. That’s certainly my problem. On the other hand, the great news is that we – unlike those who are “employees” and have to be in the office 8-5 – can work not just from home but just about anywhere. So it’s a matter of getting into the routine of picking up the laptop and heading to various other places. Just think how many people we can meet that way, as compared to if we were stuck in the office 8-5 seeing the same co-workers every day.

  • TOC is very popular in business, specially operations side. Need to start working on things asap rather than making excuses.

  • Yaro, thanks for this article! It has inspired me to get over my fears and doubts and just get on with it. On a lighter note, if you’re still looking for a girlfriend, give me a call…haha. You are so cute and personable, I can’t ever imagine you having a problem getting dates!
    I really rely on your site to give me the best ideas and inspiration and always find it! Thanks.

  • Jen

    Thanks for the interesting article and especially the real life examples. They make it so much more real.

    @Olga, Speaking as one Australian woman, I would say that women in Australia are somewhat different to elsewhere, but not in the way you’re suggesting. However I think with all of us, it’s our own shyness that can get in the way, no matter how much we might seem to have to offer to a potential partner.

    In general, I do think that seeking a woman rather than a girl might help. Immaturity on one side and social anxiety on the other is not a recipe for success.

  • I find this article insightful about the theory of constraints as it gives a clear picture of what actually happens when a person starts an online business or blog and is later left with no idea of how to make a growing business out of it.
    I could say I have fallen victim to this (reading too much about everything and not gettting much ork done) and this has given me an idea of how I can get ahead with what I do online and make it work for me to get a good income out of it.

  • Great article. The planning concepts of my company and the planning we carry out for clients is centred around the 80/20 rule – that is one of the reasons we chose the name Pareto.

    It is possible to take this concept and apply this to planning your business and forward income streams in such a way as to allow your brain to drive you to your goals. Don’t ask me how it works but it does.

    However whilst the 80/20 works so – 20% of what you do is responsible for 80% of outcomes and your income.

    Of equal value is the reverse scenario of 20/80 rule, that is that 80% of your problems derive from 20% of your clients/activities etc. So identifying these can be a real boon for your business. We had four clients that were causing a lot of friction within our office and making unreasonable demands – they were paying high fees but we sacked them. It was worth it for the increased productivity and harmony in our business!

    Best wishes,

    Ray Best

  • Hamid

    The article is well written.I am not in business area.Simply a civil servant.But read most of your writing.This article no doubt will help in my day to day service life.

  • Excellant and comprehensive article Yaro and a very good ‘call to action’. As mentioned by others it’s not often I stick with an article this long all the way through before loosing interest – good job! 🙂

  • Wow excellent article Yaro, full of great examples, I often learn more from examples that just written methods, took the 80:20 rule to read through it though 🙂
    As for shyness with the ladies, I think I win the award for the dumbest form of self imposed shyness as a teenager lol I know exactly where you are coming from!

  • So interesting to read this article and know I’m not alone. I think we all know that at some level, but to see your examples here, really hit home for me.

    Thank you for giving me a bit of a wake up call!


  • Movement

    Hey Yaro

    Cheers for that article. This one is not only an awesome advise for online business but for life as well.
    It is definitly worth posting this one in the newsletter.


  • I’m grateful for the reminder to break down the constraints in the most minute detail. I’ve long known about the 80/20 rule, and refer to it often. One of the challenges for me is to take the information from “sellers of information”, and translate that into useful tools for myself, a seller of manufactured goods.

  • I’ve been so focused on working “hard” that I forgot why I’m doing this in the first place. My desire is to replace my 9 to 5 job, and do more of what I enjoy. I really like how this article challenges you to think more about the quality of the work you are doing, and not just the hours put in.

    When I think about it, much of my time is spent on tasks that do not have any effort on the income I am currently earning. I think that people are creatures of habit, and if we cannot replace our old habits with new and improved ones; we will never move forward with our goals.

    Thank you so much Yaro, for this inspiring blog post. I will be doing much more productive tasks from this point forward. Promise!

  • Thanks for this Yaro, I need a bit of working perspective, I started to write an eBook a couple of years ago that I shelved for a bit, I have only just got back round to it and finished it today. Fear and information overload has been at the route of my procrastination. As I am sure it is for many people.


  • Real down to earth advice from someone that’s been there and providing the blueprint for others to follow. Loved the post Yaro, I too wrote on the 80 / 20 rule and have started to live by it getting more done in less time.

  • Great Post Yaro,

    ‘I like the idea to figure out the options
    and choose the best one for me.’

    (I do think that it will also be better
    for you readers)

    This is something that I thought about before, and I do think that it’s also somewhat in alignment with one of the books that I (pre) sell on some of my Blogs. (a book titled ‘Do You!’) It probably will be a risk to do things a little different and be a little ‘Experimental’, but I do think it’s worth to do it
    a little ‘Frank Sinatra Style’ and do it My Way :))

    Only for that I do think I need to really communicate things on my Blog really clear, thanks for your post, you Inspired me to come up with some new ideas,
    I will probably put this special ‘Bookmark Info’ on my Blog tomorrow, and when it’s finished – everybody reading this – feel free to become really curious about it, that you want to find out about it yourself.

    Also feel free to help communicate it arround the world 🙂

  • Great Post Yaro,

    ‘I like the idea to figure out the options
    and choose the best one for me.’

    (I do think that it will also be better
    for you readers)

    This is something that I thought about before, and I do think that it’s also somewhat in alignment with one of the books that I (pre) sell on some of my Blogs. (a book titled ‘Do You!’) It probably will be a risk to do things a little different and be a little ‘Experimental’, but I do think it’s worth to do it
    a little ‘Frank Sinatra Style’ and do it My Way :))

    Only for that I do think I need to really communicate things on my Blog really clear, thanks for your post, you Inspired me to come up with some new ideas,
    I will probably put this special ‘Bookmark Info’ on my Blog tomorrow, and when it’s finished – everybody reading this – feel free to become really curious about it, that you want to find out about it yourself.

    Also feel free to help communicate it arround the world 🙂

  • Thanks Yaro for sharing your in-depth view at the Theory of Constraints! I think it’s important that we look at our businesses and our lives with an approach like this.

    You’ve also touched one of the most critical points about how our limiting beliefs are stopping us from achieving what we want. And the Why Train is an effective way to find out the real constraint – the limiting belief.

    This is such an important post for everyone!

    Janus Ng

  • Bruce

    Wow, I can relate to Example #2 with respect to meeting others as I just recently opted for an entrepreneurial lifestyle recently. And your post helped me discover the constraint 🙂 Thanks Yaro, it’s good to see you writing more again, I hope you keep it up. I really enjoy your writing style here, it’s what keeps me coming back.

  • Sorry for sending my previous reply twice
    (just like the city that’s so nice, and has
    to be named twice..,)

    Anyway, today I just have put this extra ‘Bookmark Info’
    on my Blog reading:

    ‘Currently I don’t work with a Sign Up for an eMail Newsletter,
    so that gives me more time to actually read – Your – Comments,
    and Write Comments Back, So….,’
    To be able to find this site back remember to List HP’s Happy Blogspot as Favorite.

    At least it will give me an opportunity
    to give it a little more – Focus –

  • Hi Yaro, I have to tell you that you are a lovely person, it comes thru in all your articles, your personality that is, one thing that stands out for me is your wholesome attitude, I imagion you would enjoy good health as well? It is one of the secrets to good health, attitude to life and you have got it. You have made it happen by following your heart and what makes you happy. Carry on the great work I am inspired now to get on with it. I’m off to comunicate with a tech guy. Many thanks Deb

  • Focus is the real issue. We start out strong with our intentions, then information overload takes over. We start reaching for other solutions and keep trying to copy other success. Your center must be your own. You must master your own weaknesses,. 80/20 to me means 80 effort on my part 20 % always learning more and constantly applying to grow in knowledge. Just keep executing and doing and focus comes.

  • Hi Yaro,
    Thank you. Without knowing what it is called (now I know its the Theory of Constraints) it was the idea of what a friend and I were discussing just yesterday. I have been successfully overcoming obstacles with ‘baby steps’ by breaking things down like this for a few months and I am so grateful for this wonderful tool and your eloquent explanation of it.
    It certainly aids to free one from uncertainty and find focus and purpose so as to move towards a goal both in a business and personal setting as you explained.
    Thank you for your candid insights and honest personal anecdotes that add meaning to the subject.

  • I think you have nailed it. Once you understand the root cause of a problem it is easy to work on the solutions.

    However, solving problems this way does not come naturally especially when you are living an ordinary life – a job that drains most of your life, family, kids, bills, taxes. All this leaves hardly any time for self development

    Thanks for posting such helpful articles. I really appreciate what you are doing through this website.

  • Yaro,

    As a “Jonah” I appreciate you touching on the Theory of Constraints and addressing it in light of personal and professional development but I think more can be said about underlining assumptions. Underlining assumptions are often the driving factor to one’s core conflict and consequently what is limiting one’s overall throughput. In the program I attended our professor opened the class with this statement; “All of you think you know how to think… but you don’t.” He went on to illustrate how thinking about the same things over and over again is evidence that you haven’t truly solved the problem that is keeping you where you are.

    The “Thinking Process” is a huge part of TOC and is great for understating the reality you live in and uncovering the underlining assumptions that you didn’t know exist. I have been amazed time and time again at how little I actually think about something once I look at it though the lens of TOC.

    From one TOC practitioner to another, best of luck with CrankyAds.

  • Very well said “FOCUS” will lead you for concentration and forwarding to success. It only means that you have determination on what you are doing and thinking that how you will make it perfect . Like “”ARTS” you can make art if you focus and follow your feelings to make it perfect.

  • […] At the start of the interview I asked Tim how he gets so much done in his life. He then surprised me and said he actually procrastinates a lot, but he knows what is important to get done using habits. This is a great answer to an important question, which really backs up many of the principles like the 80/20 Rule and Theory of Constraints. […]

  • […] cover the entire theory in this answer, but if you want more I have a longer explanation here – […]

  • […] the theory of constraints you should look to whatever is the most pressing constraint that is stopping movement forward. […]

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