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Is the Juice Worth the Squeeze?

by Mar 30, 2022

Is your effort worth the outcome?

Is the juice worth the squeeze?

I am not sure when I first heard that phrase. I am sure it was in some conference room working through a new process or related to a project. But the phrase has always stuck with me.

Is the effort worth the outcome?

Is the activity going to reap enough rewards?

Whatever way you phrase it, is the effort impactful?

A few weeks ago, I spoke to a class of teenagers about entrepreneurship. I originally thought it would be 30 students, then was updated with around 15 students and upon arrival there were only 4. I was a bit disappointed, but I enjoy sharing information that may help others, so I dove in. I was determined to get a head nod, a question, or some type of engagement out of these students who were just staring at me. After a few slides, a video, and a quick game, I managed to get interaction and one student even took notes on resources I shared. Later that evening, I shared with my family about the class. I was initially disappointed in the turnout as I spent a fair amount to time preparing. I did not think the effort matched the impact. However, after thinking through it, I realized that that if the ONE student who took notes during the session got something out of it and it inspires her to do something entrepreneurial, then I will take those results. 25% impact in this situation is a great return. I decided the juice was worth the squeeze. Lesson here: I will clarify and confirm attendee counts in the future and adjust my effort accordingly! This phrase has several potential origins, but the one I like most is referring to juicing and non-juicing oranges. There are some types of oranges that aren’t meant for producing the best juice while others are perfect for creating that golden liquid. You may press and squeeze an orange, and nothing comes out of it. Your effort didn’t produce anything other than a mushy mess. However, the same effort on the right type of orange produces the sweet and healthy nectar. Your effort in alignment with the right task can also render the perfect “juice.” Another way to look at this is the 80-20 rule also known as the Pareto Principle.


The Principle basically states that 80% of your work comes from just 20% of your action.

From a business perspective, there are business cases documenting that 20% of sales reps generate 80% of the total sales. 20% of customers account for roughly 80% of total revenue. 20% of the software glitches cause 80% of the crashes…and so on. And if you like sports, 80% of the points come from 20% of the players. There are plenty of examples. However, please note that the percentages don’t always evenly line up or are evenly distributed.

I use this Principle to be more productive each day to help me know if the “juice is worth the squeeze.”

Take these into account when determining if a task is effort worthy:

  • The amount of effort it takes to complete a task is not always indicative of the outcome.
  • Don’t be discouraged by how much work something may take – the results could be worth it.
  • There are many factors that go into determining whether a task is worth the effort, so don’t rush to judgement. Some things are required to be completed regardless of the time it takes.
  • Perhaps it’s better to delegate tasks that are not worth your time.
  • Group like efforts or problems together. Perhaps you can tackle them together.
  • Learn to recognize when something is not worth your effort and move on without ruminating about it.
    And potentially most important, take the time to weigh all the pros and cons before deciding if something is worth your time. Is it aligned with your work or your mission and values? Will it yield what and when you need it to?

So next time you’re about to embark on a new task or project, ask yourself: “Is the juice worth the squeeze?”