The Importance of 20% Projects~Something I Learned At Google

Hello human beings of the Internet!

Long time no see, I have no true excuse for not uploading in so long. Truly I have been prioritizing school, extracurricular activities, and my relationships with other people, but this has started to make me lose track of my personal development. We all need to have moments with ourselves to reflect on why certain things are occurring.

For this situation, I realized we all should have side projects that contribute to our overall goal of who we want to be as individuals that are not absorbing our energy fully, one is my blog for me.

These are called 20% projects ~ as stated in How Google Works by Eric Schmidt & Jonathan Rosenberg, featuring Alan Eagle, foreword by Larry Page.

I had the honor to meet one of these individuals who is Director, Executive Communications at Google, Alan Eagle. He and other Google employees were telling the group I traveled with to Google a couple weeks ago, about having 20% projects. 

(FYI this was a crazy experience, cannot process that this happened. Prooves anything is possible!)

Google Tour Photo

These projects, from my understanding, are about innovation to a subject an individual is impacted by, or wants to fix. These 20% projects can contribute to, eventually, the field we work in and can be incorporated to create big outcomes and social impact.

In How Google Works, they ask themselves:

“how [will they] continue to inspire and allow innovation within the core Google business.

What else could [they] do to find them and let them grow?” (xxiv).

So this is where Google has 20% projects. Fellow “Googlers” are encouraged to work on something of their choice. They even created a work space at Google to have them work on these special projects!

As stated by Alastair Ross, from Codexx Associates, “Google ‘20% time’ resulted in some of the company’s most successful products such as Gmail, AdSense and Google Talk” (Jan. 2010). These were factors brought up while I was at Google!

So Why Am I Sharing This and How Does it Relate to You All?!

This is because these projects not only keep us humans sane, but can also bring great outcomes to what we want to be contributed to our purpose in life; and why we work so hard day-in and day-out.

Since January, I have not been super focused on this 20% project, my blog, and when I obtained this information about the importance of 20% projects at Google and through the book How Google Works, (so important that it was stated in the book before the book reached page 1)!

I knew, and have always known that my 20% projects were contributing to something greater, but had a moment to question where to take this project next, and now that is to continue sharing these awesome experiences with you all! I want you all to work on your 20% projects and know that they do matter!

Often when I do these projects, I feel that I am not focusing on “important things” when these projects are definitely important and are contributing to the greater good. These projects can be as simple as creating a yoga class or creating a digital database. Also remember they are only 20% projects, so don’t sweat stress out.

But at Google, they really call them 120 percent projects because “[you] spend 100 percent of [your] time on 20 percent projects” (xxv, Schmidt and Rosenberg). To me this means giving your all to these projects, but you all can interpret that as you please.

I encourage you to find something you want to fix, innovate, or just contribute your time to, and let me know how it goes 🙂 It can be corporated to a big company, huge success story!

Logging out,

Helen 🙂



Schmidt, Eric, Rosenberg, Jonathan, and Eagle, Alan et al. How Google Works. Grand Central Publishing, 2017. 

2 Replies to “The Importance of 20% Projects~Something I Learned At Google”

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