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.


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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