The 70/20/10 Rule

Do important work or none at all

The best Kung Fu movies aren’t those with the most fights. They’re those where they fights mean something.

The first Ip Man film is almost two hours long - yet there are only three major fights. Three! But it’s a great movie. Because each fight matters.

This is also an accurate representation of how a true Kung Fu master spends his time. I guess we could call it the 70/20/10 rule.

  • 10% of the time is spent in actual fights. They’re necessary, but unwanted, unplanned, and everything is on the line.

  • 20% of the time goes to training. Since you never know when a fight happens, you have to always be prepared. To constantly work on your body and spirit.

  • 70% of the time goes to resting. That’s right. Most of the time, the master does nothing at all. He knits, he thinks, he eats, he plays with his kids. Rest is the most important part of his day.

Broken down into a daily schedule, this leaves 5 hours of training - every day. But there’s also room for 8 hours of sleep, 9 of active rest, and a condensed, stressful fighting day once a week.

In our own lives, we often sacrifice rest in favor of more training. More prep work. More things we can get done. Often, that’s a mistake.

From Sam’s amazing interview I shared on Wednesday:

“It's very easy to spend a decade being incredibly busy and incredibly stressed every day and feeling like you're working incredibly hard and creating a ton of movement - but not moving forward.” - Sam Altman

Yesterday, I only had two things to do. As soon as I was finished, I found my mind racing: What else can I do? Maybe write another article? Finish another draft?

But it was just busywork. Nothing that moves the needle. So I didn’t. I just rested. I thought. I ate. I did my laundry. And I felt much better for it.

The true counterpart of important work isn’t busywork. It’s doing no work at all.

And if you follow the 70/20/10 rule, you’ll always know which one to choose.


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