The 1% Rule (Tommy Baker) – Book Summary8 min read

The 1% Rule by Tommy Baker Book Cover

Three Sentence Summary

The 1% rule is a method for creating consistent momentum in whatever goal or ambition you may have set. Its a simple strategy with a proven track record and thanks to the tips added gives this strategy more structure and focus. The book and the method itself is a simple but effective way to get any goal started or back on track!

My Top 3 Take Aways

  1.  Mindset is king. Accepting that hard work, commitment and that not everything will go your way first time around is the first steps to success as when adversity arises you’re more likely to face it head on rather than give up.
  2. Progress or at least perceived progress is the key motivator and builder of momentum which will empower you to continue towards your goals.
  3. Ask yourself ‘What can I execute right now that will prove that my outcome and vision are not only possible, but coming true?’. Answer with intent and focus and deciding your daily tasks towards progress will be that much easier.

Who Do I Recommend This Book For?

The method described in this book is great for anyone to implement whether they are starting a new goal or trying to rekindle an old one. The book itself however I found did rehash many ideas from other productivity books which is nothing new for this particular niche. It could act as a good option as a first book on productivity as it summaries a number of common strategies however other books such as Atomic Habits (James Clear) provide more detail in specific strategies to use. I still gleamed some value though so if you can pick it up on sale like I did you can’t really go wrong.

Full Summary

Hurdles of the Mind
Before getting down to the nitty gritty of the 1% rule this book made me realise you need to be in the right mindset to put such strategies into action. Many of the initial ‘myths’ described by Tommy at the beginning hit home especially when referring to the instant gratification and short attention span that seems to define human culture of the past few decades. For your dreams to become reality we to have make adversity and feeling uncomfortable tolerable. We have to see it as a challenge to overcome as success is never linear. Life is always a rollercoaster and we cannot give up when faced with the first hurdle. One of the biggest challenges I seem to constantly come across is waiting for the perfect time. Which I’d say is one of the most ubiquitous dream killers out there and the most deadly as it occurs before even a single drop of progress is made. In order to overcome these we need to have confidence and faith and the biggest indicator of this is the perception of progress. The 1% rule’s main aim is to overcome all these hurdles by ensuring progress is made daily.  Let’s see how it works.
The 1% Methodology
The 1% Rule

1% progress + Daily Application (Consistency) + Persistence (Focus) + Time (Endurance) = Success!

Now this is nothing new nor does it redefine mathematics as we all know that if we keep adding 1% 100 times we will get to 100% a.k.a. completion. However, applying this method to your life is more difficult as it takes habitual progress, never losing sight of the end goal and ensuring you are prepared for the long haul. Obviously all goals won’t be achieved in 100 days either but it’s all about building up this perceived progress overtime. By being specific with your daily tasks the motivation produced by completing it will give momentum to your ambition.
By remaining consistent in the face of adversity you will gain confidence and continue your journey to mastery of new skills. These two benefits alone puts you ahead of most people. Inevitably there will be some sacrifices. You’ll most likely have to get used to saying no to spontaneous invitations but saying no is a vital skill to acquire in a world of media constantly trying to grab our attention. In order to be consistent habits must be formed. Three simple tips are establishing a distraction free environment for full focus, creating a block of time everyday for you to apply your focus and to create an accountability network so you have the support to continue on to your goals.

Recommended Reading: For the best tips on habit formation try my summary of Atomic Habits by James Clear for tips!

The author also recommends the pomodoro technique to help structure the time blocks you create and is described below. Ideally this should be around  2 hours which equates to 4 cycles of pomodoro or 1 block although one hour can be more than enough.
The Pomodoro Technique
1 cycle: 25 minutes of undistracted focussed work -> 5 minute break. 
4x cycles = 1 block and after take 15 to 20 minutes break.
I have tried this method before and have found it has its benefits especially in getting you to start working however the one key downside I’ve found is the 5 minute breaks actually disrupt my flow instead of aiding it. Instead I have found that the first 15 minutes is great for planning and getting the brain in gear. After a quick break I follow this with two longer 45 minute sessions broken up by a 5 minute break. The key is in designing a task that you are able to complete in this timeframe or at least leave it in a state that’s easy to pick it back up from. Either way have a play around with the timings and see what works for you.
Persistent Focus
If there’s on thing you take from this summary it’s this simple question:

‘What can I execute right now that will prove that my outcome and vision are not only possible, but coming true?’

This is the epitome of Tommy Bakers 1% rule. By answering it with intention it will not only keep you on track to your goal but maintain your focus on your ambitions and ensure you make the most of your most valuable commodity – time. This question aims to stop the paralysis of too many options and focus you to the most important next step by eliminating the fluff. The answer however needs to specific with as many details as possible to avoid procrastination creeping in. The final part of the question relating to proving your vision is coming true is an interesting addition. Its goal is to help you filter out the tasks that don’t tip the scales in your favour and help keep you grounded to your overall final ambition. This in turn should create a domino effect by establishing momentum.
This ties nicely into Parkinson’s Law which is ‘Work expands to fill the time available for its completion’. This sums up the human knack for procrastination and why we can complete tasks with short deadlines with very similar results to if a longer deadline was given. We establish this short deadline with our daily blocks and we fill with our high priority tasks. By setting this out we avoid this time being filled with menial tasks by others.
In order to continue on with this you need to see progress or at least have a perception of progress. The 1% rule with its daily win strategy should account for this but there are additional actions to take to ensure greater improvements are made. Every time you have a breakthrough, overcome a challenge and in general have a big win you need to celebrate it with a reward. This can be as simple as treating yourself to your favourite snack but whatever it is must be important to you and help continue the cycle of continuation. 
After these wins a review should also be completed this should firstly relate to your overall goal. Ask yourself ‘Am I still on track?’ , ‘How can I stop a similar challenge from recurring?’ and ‘What are my next steps?’. Setting smaller milestones can work wonders to make the journey look that little bit more manageable.
An audit of who you surround yourself with, your environment and other causes of stress that is disrupting your progress should also be performed. If you are able to eliminate anything which is taking away your attention you can make the next steps more efficient and so make the progress bar move that bit faster. Your circle is also extremely important as they provide support as well as accountability. With a support network you will feel more empowered to see your actions through as you’ll feel like you are letting them down if you give up. Resulting in the perfect way to trick yourself into being more productive.

Making it Actionable!

In the end it all boils down to putting it into action. Although this is a proven strategy to creating success it might not work for you. The compounding effect of 1% improvements is however undeniable especially after months or even years of consistency. It won’t work for everyone but the little and often approach is a great option to start with to create discipline and get comfortable with putting in the work. In my future projects I’m going to implement this method as a great starting point to help me with my goals. When I’m stuck in a rut or cannot decide on my next steps asking myself the 1% question will be my first port of call to help me make progress and overcome adversity.

If you’ve read this book already I’d love to know your thoughts and how you’ve implemented its strategies. Let me know down below!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top