When my life coach first mentioned the 80/20 rule, I thought she was talking about diet and exercise. You know, that old rule that says we should eat healthfully 80 percent of the time and indulge our cravings with the other 20 percent.
But she had a different rule in mind. It was this:
Eighty percent of our results are achieved with 20 percent of our time.
This startled me, but think about it. How much of your work day do you spend in useless meetings, surfing the net, chatting with coworkers, making personal calls or emails, etc.? And how much do you spend actually working on projects?
Even though I work for myself now, I’m not immune. I still spend way too much time on Facebook, auctioning off my belongings for a few bucks, and writing for clients. I’m even trying to find a home for someone else’s cat, a woman I met once. (Why?) If I’m only spending 20 percent of my time on my writing, what would happen if I increased that to 30 percent? Or 50? Or even 60? And even scarier, am I spending 20 percent of my time on my goals, or even less?
I’ve been reading a lot of posts by other professional writers that have really scared me. It’s a brave new world out there for writers. While publishers used to be happy with a book a year, the ability to self-publish has increased the demand for more words. And the more novels, short stories and articles you can produce, the more successful you will be as your fans discover you and begin to search for everything else you may have written.
When I first quit my day job, my editor said that he’d expect six books a year from me–five if I spent a lot of time marketing. I laughed, thinking it was ridiculous. But it’s really not. An average novel is 80,000-100,000 words. If I wrote 2000 words per day, which usually takes me just over an hour, that adds up to 730,000 words a year. I could take a fair amount of time off and still have what amounts to six good-sized novels each year. By spending only an HOUR a day on my writing.
It boggles the mind.
You don’t have to be a writer to get the rule to work for you. What are you spending the other 80 percent of your time on? What could you eliminate to become more productive and efficient? For a lot of people, it’s television. For me, it’s a horrible Facebook addiction that I’m beginning to come to terms with. Figure out how to stop the time wastage, and you could be that much closer to the life you want.
Every minute counts. Let’s make the most of it.