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The 25-50-25 Rule of Time Management

May 24th, 2010 by Bob Bly

There are only three ways to learn either a new process (e.g., starting an Internet business) or a new skill (e.g., copywriting): studying, observing, and doing.

The 25-50-25 rule says that to master a skill or process, and put what you learn into practical action, you must divide your time as follows:

>> No more than 25% of your time is spent studying ? i.e., reading books, going to boot camps, attending workshops, dialing into tele-seminars, listening to CDs in your car.

>> No more than 25% of your time is spent observing ? watching what successful people in your field are already doing; e.g., if you want to become a direct mail copywriter, this means reading and analyzing the direct mail you get in your mail box each day.

>> At least 50% of your time is spent actually DOING the thing you are studying and observing ? e.g., if you want to sell information products on the Internet, you are creating your first product ? designing your Web site ? or building your list.

Acquiring business knowledge is a worthwhile activity. But without action, that knowledge is worthless to you.

Here?s a little secret that may be helpful: You don?t have to know everything — or even most of what there is to know ? to succeed in most endeavors.

For example, there are hundreds of strategies for making money on the Internet.

But you can make a six-figure annual income online using only a few of them, even if you never bother to learn the others.

When we were kids, our parents and teachers told us to study, study, study.

But I see many people today much more enamored with studying and reading about business, marketing, freelancing, and entrepreneurship than actually doing.

Well, I understand that. Reading about marketing is fascinating — and fun. And it?s within your comfort zone.

But the money is in the doing, not the reading.

Follow the 25-50-25 rule, and you?ll be doing ? and making money ? at least half the time.


This entry was posted on Monday, May 24th, 2010 at 7:30 pm and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

57 responses about “The 25-50-25 Rule of Time Management”

  1. Kathleen O'Connor said:

    Right now, I probably spend 75% of my time observing and studying. Thanks for the reminder to take action!

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  3. Commercial Photographer said:

    Yea, makes sense. I am also one of those that tend to “study” too much, and neglecting the “doing”.

  4. Patti Lewis said:

    Yep. That’s me. I spend a LOT of time thinking, studying and observing, but clearly not enough DOING. Thanks for the reminder.

  5. Fern Dickey said:

    When I worked at an association, we used to refer to it as “analysis paralysis.” And I’m guilty of it too.

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  7. Mele Williams said:

    I’m going to remember this advice when I start whining about being broke and blaming my husband for our money troubles.

  8. Idris said:

    So true.

    In fact, thru DOING you’ll learn more important subtle things not covered in theoretical teachings.

    DOING also ingrains things deeper into your memory.

    DOING needs to be done more.

    “I see I forget, I listen I remember, I do I understand.” or something like that. Source: one of Wayne Dyer’s CD.

  9. Chris Hunt said:

    There’s also an element of what skill/competence level the person is at.

    When someone starts to learn internet marketing they shouldn’t do 50% ‘doing’. If they did they’d spend 40% (or whatever figure) of the time doing the wrong thing!

    …As greater skill is acquired less time is needed to learn and observe. Think Bob are you really learning and observing as much as you did when you first started?

    As a *rule of thumb* I totally, the dynamic of current level should be taken in to account though.

    Have you got any thoughts on that?

  10. Chris Hunt said:


    “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.” ~Confucius

  11. Jackie said:

    Honestly, I’m one of those people who are stuck in reading stuffs that can help me earning money. Sadly, I’m also one of those people who don’t actually take action cause it seems I still need to learn more like experts do. Hopefully, I could change this kind of attitude.

  12. William Reynolds said:

    One old saying that really helped me in my business is, “If you don’t know where to start, start SOMEWHERE.” Preparation can turn into procrastination: “Once I really know my way around the Internet, then I’ll market myself online.” So many of these subjects are moving targets that you can run in place forever “getting up to speed.” Try something, and if it doesn’t work, then fix it (just like writing a first draft — compose now, repair later).

  13. Heather Plude said:

    I agree with the studying, the observing and the doing ratio… except you left out time for “being”

    A great mentor of mine taught me that we are human beings, not human doings. It is important to take some time to BE.

    This is the first step in the sequence … BE, DO, HAVE.

    Thanks for the great post!

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  15. Maricel said:

    I find it difficult to start on my own with any online activities available over the net. I also feel that learning more can help me achieve success, but the truth is, I need to work hard and wisely to reach all my goals.

  16. Sam Reiki said:

    I’m guilty of not spending the 50% of my time to do the actual procedure of what I’m studying. Maybe because I always feel that I still need to know more than what I actually know.

  17. Recharddo said:

    – I think, to start a job or make an issue that we must first determine its importance. Level of difficulty when performing and all problems can occur. Like the old saying “you know who you are, have done nothing and are in any position.” When I save a whole problem and want to make it successful, I must take time to just 50% of original research and complete. I always attentive when performing their jobs whether it is an easy or difficult, so I always start simple, and gradually more difficult until I made the most difficult thing. When I find myself still a lot to learn. And my motto is: “Try, patience, hardworking are the key to success”. As well as you Follow the 25-50-25 rule, and you’ll be doing – and making money – at Least Half the time. Thank for your sharing this post.

  18. Anthony Cole said:

    I’m still trying my best to actually follow this 25-50-25 rule. Honestly, I really don’t know where to start. Working independently has been a great factor which affected my discipline with regards of spending my time wisely.

  19. Tim said:

    I can say that now, I’m starting to learn how to balance things. As a matter of fact, it has been a big challenge for me to change my style towards dealing with other work. Hopefully, everything will continue.

  20. Daniel Franklin said:

    I personally claim that I’m not using my time wisely. There are so many distractions in my mind, specifically my doubts in starting new things. All doubts have been always there, doubts which control all my plans.

  21. Mercedes said:

    This has been a real eye-opener. I spend far too much time studying a subject and looking at what others are doing. I think that I am more comfortable in those activities than in doing what I should be doing which is to “get the h*** on with it”.
    I am glad I read this article.

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