There’s an ideal right.

We all want the perfect balance that’s right for us. It could be working more efficiently so you can be richer, working less so you can spend more time with the people you love or maybe you just enjoy spending all day working.

I know I want to work less so I can spend more time with the people I care for.

The hard part of course is turning the idea into reality.

For the last few years I’ve failed to get that balance right. I’ve worked too many hours (seven-day weeks were pretty normal). In five years I’ve taken less holidays than when I had a boss (Trekking ABC in Nepal was one of those moments where I didn’t open my laptop).

In that time I jumped from project to project with varying levels of success (ok, many were just outright failures). It’s like some kind of inverse law of finance; the harder I worked the less I earned.

It’s been mentally and physically exhausting. And it’s caused a lot of stress in other parts of my life.

That’s the shit part of being an entrepreneur nobody tells you about. The brochure is all four-hour workweek and smiling photos in exotic places, which in most cases is quite frankly bollocks.

There are just too many people playing the ‘faking it until I make it route…’

Ok. Some cafes have been nicer than others.

The reality for me has been endless cafes, too many hours staring at a computer screens and the occasional 12-hour day. That was until the start of the year.

In the last few months my bank account has slowly but steadily grown. I’m now comfortable, but I know I haven’t got the right work life balance just yet.

I’m now trying to do something about it.

Over the last few weeks I’ve made some big changes. Things are going in the right direction. It’s partly thanks to an Italian called Pareto.

The 80/20 Rule

Pareto was an economist that came up with an easy to quote business theory. The gist of it is that you get 80% of your money from 20% of the time you spend working. Then you spend the other 80% of your time working trying to get the last 20% of the pie.

After years of working too hard for a small reward the theory resonates.

I’ve tried to implement it in my business.

In the last three weeks I’ve stopped doing anything outside the core 20% of my work that really benefits my projects (I come up with special deals for software and photos).

The list of things I’ve stopped doing includes…

  • Finding affiliates for my projects. That falls in the 80%.
  • Writing articles to get traffic to a website. That’s in the 80%.
  • Social media strategy. That’s in the 80%.
  • There’s a whole lot more…

This exercise has changed the way I think about my projects (it’s amazing how many things on my ‘to do’ list weren’t actually important).

Time have a bit more fun away from the computer.

You should try it yourself.

I’m sure many of the things on your ‘to do’ list are a pain, take a lot of time and add minimal value to your project. Life’s too short and the people around you are too important to focus on 80% of the things that don’t really matter. You’ll only tire yourself out.

I wish I’d learned that lesson earlier…