Have you ever found yourself working long hours, skipping lunch, and swapping personal time for late-night rendezvous with clients? Many of us make the mistake of believing we can achieve more by doubling our work efforts. So, we take on multiple projects and sacrifice personal time and our social lives to get ahead. And even though we accomplish everything on our list, we may find ourselves with very little to show for it in terms of life satisfaction and fulfillment.
Although I was first introduced to the 80/20 rule more than five years ago, it wasn’t until recently that I started applying it to my business and personal life. Also known as the Pareto principle, this concept suggests that 80 percent of our results come from 20 percent of our efforts. While you may be familiar with this philosophy in relation to time management and productivity, there’s a much more important question that one must also take into account: What are the activities that account for 80 percent of your happiness in your work life?
Designing a 80/20 work life
Numerous studies have shown that we’re much more effective in business when we limit our activities to things we’re passionate about or are in alignment with our core competencies. In my own life, I’ve noticed that I’d often procrastinate in doing tasks that weren’t my strong suit or I didn’t like doing, such as bookkeeping and programming. Now, I leave those tasks to the experts. Yes, in the short term I may spend more money in hiring a bookkeeper or web site programmer. However, in the long run it would cost me more in time and energy to perform tasks I don’t enjoy.
In order to create a more satisfying work life, it’s essential that you determine the activities that bring you the most pleasure in your business. For me, I love teaching and empowering others, so I devote a significant amount of my time to writing articles and blogging. Not only are these the activities that I most enjoy, but these are also the things that have helped to generate the most income and created the most business opportunities.
How to do only what you love
When I first started my business, I tried to do everything myself. At the beginning, I didn’t have a lot of extra cash to play around with. Therefore, I thought if I did everything myself, I could keep costs to a minimum (huge mistake). I later found myself working 16-hour days, and I had little to show for it because I wasn’t making the most out of my time and energy.
To avoid time and energy zappers, ask yourself: “What activities can I delegate to others, so I can focus only on tasks that relate to my natural gifts and passions?” You may decide to outsource administrative tasks and dedicate more time to creating new products or packages. Or, you might limit your time to only include projects that highlight your personal strengths and abilities.
Boost your business performance with less effort
There are certain activities you can do each week that will account for 80 percent of your marketing results. But many of us follow the herd and do what everyone else is doing. The trick is, however, to discover the things that produce the greatest results for your particular business. For example, keep track of where the majority of your business is coming from. Consider your client base and determine what customers generate the greatest amount of sales. Also, assess the types of customers that are most enjoyable to work with. You might then decide to let go of the clients that aren’t productive and miserable to work with.