How to Work Smarter

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Scenario: Dude, if we're going to build a great business from scratch, we gotta work 120 hour weeks. If we don't do it, we're screwed out of our Porsches. Yay!" For most entrepreneurs, a work day consists of:

  1. checking email: 2 hours
  2. reading the latest news on Drudge Report: 2 hours
  3. having a cross-town "business lunch meeting": 2 hours
  4. talking to "potential" customers: 2 hours
  5. slacking off -- a.k.a. "procrastination time": 6 hours
  6. doing work that contributes to the bottom line: priceless (okay, we're corny. 4 hours.)

In a typical day, entrepreneurs spend 20% of it directly contributing to their business' bottom lines. That is, a smart 20-hour work week would probably net them the same results as a 120-hour work week. So we're just going to say it:

Most self-described "120-hour workaholics" are just gigantic procrastinators.

The next time somebody tells you they're working 120-hour work weeks (and by "working", we mean working), you know one of two things:

  • They're the biggest procrastinators you know, or
  • They're freakishly nonhuman.

More likely, they're the former. Since you don't want to be part of the group that wastes 100 hours a week (time you could be spending enjoying non-work stuff like salsa dancing your hearts out), what do you do?

Use the 80/20 rule to decide how you'll spend your day.

Notice that 20% of your work day contributes to 80% of your bottom line. And, vice-versa. (We'll affectionately distinguish the two: "rock-star-time" and "sucky-time-wasters".) The key, then: increase the mutha flucka out of your "rock star time", and decrease your sucky-time-wasters. If going on sales appointments affects a chunk of your bottom line, increase time getting and attending those meetings. If checking email produces minimal sucky results, decrease time doing it.

Remember:

If you can find ways to reduce as much time with sucky-time-wasters, you'll dramatically see a boost in your productivity -- and your bottom line. The moral:

Seek more rock star time.

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Posted on September 11

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