The 80/20 rule is frustrating, but often rings true. The majority of any project is easy, but it’s the last 20% that will take the majority of your time. And sweat. And tears.

Yesterday I sanded down more than 80% of my deck with a big drum sander and made quick progress. Today I looked at the small edge around the inside that the big sander couldn’t reach – those 2″ that were “no big deal” when we started – and realized that this project had only just begun.

The optimist starts a project saying “it couldn’t be that hard” because they’re looking at the 80% that will go quickly. (If we looked at the whole project we might never start!) That last 20% is just details, right?

But it’s those details that will kill you. It’s the last 20% that will take most of the time and cause most people to throw in the towel.

Don’t quit or get discouraged, just realize that once you’re 80% of the way there, you’re only just getting started.