You’re wasting your time

What if a complete stranger were to tell you that most of what you do is a complete waste of time? How would it make you feel?

Your natural reaction would probably be to think it was a load of rubbish, to think that whoever was saying this to you was having a laugh, or crazy.

But what if it was someone whose opinion you really trusted? – a close friend or someone you admire, someone who is very successful and seems to have found the ‘key’ to something so many of us struggle to achieve: balance.

This is how I felt when I was confronted with a very hard to accept truth.

Facing the truth

I was wasting my time, and not just a bit of it... I'm talking lots of time.

In fact, I was wasting most of my working day: time I could have spent with my family and friends, time I could have spent having fun instead of staring a computer screen for as many hours as I could possibly find in the day.

Now I’ve got to admit, I was quite resistant to this idea at first.

After all, who wants to admit to themselves that they’ve allowed themselves to be misled for so long?

From our school days on we’re encouraged to believe that efficiency is to be admired and is something we should aim for. But what about effectiveness?

The truth is, when you look carefully at the way most people and organisations ‘work’ it doesn’t take long to see where people are going wrong, how they could do things so much more effectively if only they took the time to think about it and analyse why they do what they do and measure its effectiveness.

Being effective as opposed to efficient is the fundamental principle that I hadn’t understood for so many years but am glad I finally have.

Effectiveness vs. Efficiency

What is effectiveness? Effectiveness is getting the job done. Basta.

What is efficiency? Efficiency is performing a task in the most economic way possible.

So far so good. In fact, you may even think these two concepts are very similar; almost the same thing. Let me give you an example to show you how different they are:

John works for himself and takes pride in the fact he is so efficient. In a typical day he reads all of his clients emails on the day they arrive and responds to them all personally.

He organises himself well, performs tasks quickly and gets through paperwork in a professional manner. After a few hours’ work, once he’s managed all of this paperwork and filed everything away, he focuses on finding new clients so he can grow his business.

Jack also works for himself. He also likes to be organised but the realises that if his business is to survive and grow he needs more clients.

He has someone else do the paperwork and answer his emails and he focuses all of his time on finding more clients.

Now you may be thinking to yourself: sure Jack may be more effective than John and he might be able to make more money than him in the long run, but he’s got to pay someone to do that work. I can’t afford to pay someone to do the time consuming work that doesn’t make me money, but “needs” to be done.

Well don’t worry, because there’s something that you can do, right now: prioritise.

The 80/20 principle

This is the principle that I followed that cut at least 80% from my working day and actually increased my profits!

The 80/20 rule follows Pareto’s Law which states that 80% of results come from 20% of the effort and time spent performing a task.

In business terms this can be seen that 80% of sales come from 20% of your clients, or in internet marketing terms, 80% of profits come from 20% of your products.

If you take a moment to consider how universal this principle is, you’ll begin to see how you can apply Pareto’s Law to almost anything .

I applied this principle to my working day and began eliminating 80% of the tasks I performed daily.

I focused on the 20% of tasks that were making me the real money and reproduced them. The effects were startling.

I was working for a few hours a week on highly profitable tasks, spent a few more hours trying to find similar ways of making money and took the rest of the time off!

I eventually cut much more than 80% of the time I spent on certain tasks as I realised they just weren’t profitable enough.

So how can you apply the 80/20 principle to your working day?

It may take a bit of time to work this out, but believe me it’s worth it. You’ll soon see some very quick results...

Indentify the tasks you carry out that generate the most income and focus on them. Also, give yourself a very short time to complete them in.

Anything that doesn’t make you much money should be kept to an absolute minimum or simply not done at all.

Ask yourself if you perform  a daily task simply because it’s part  of your routine or because it actually makes a difference to you financially.

This is work we’re talking about here and I’m assuming you’d rather be on five times the hourly rate than you’re on right now.

Be ruthless

Cut the tasks that are time consuming a create little profit. This is the driving priciple behind my latest internet marketing courses.

Ask yourself the question: ‘If I only do this one task will I have be satisfied with my day?’

Following the 80/ 20 principle I discovered that a lot of the tasks I performed were meaningless. I was efficiently wasting my time!

Once I gave myself a limited amount of time to complete the important tasks, I realised that the end product was often just as good if not better than if I’d spent twice the time on it.

I’m a real perfectionist, so in the past I was happy to think that because I was working efficiently I was doing a good job.

By focusing my mind on the jobs that really made me money  I soon realised that the little jobs that took up so much of my time just weren’t worth it.

My hourly rate went up by 500% and I had more time for the things I wanted to do.

Remember these two laws and apply them to the things you do:

Pareto’s Law

80% of results come from 20% of the effort and time spent performing a task

Parkinson’s Law

work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion

Prioritise

Focus your energy on completing the important, profitable tasks and limit the amount of time you spend on them.

Less really is more.

The biggest problem I had applying the 80/ 20 principle to my working life was accepting that most tasks I completed didn’t make a bit of difference to me financially, in fact they were stopping me from making more money!

Modern society seems to value efficiency above effectiveness.

Imagine what the average boss would say if an employee told him he could do a week’s work in a day? He definitely wouldn’t give him the other days off!

I guess you’re  reading this because you either work for yourself or want to.

By applying the 80/ 20 principle to your internet marketing you should find that you generate more money per hour than you previously did and as a result will free up some valuable quality time for the things you’d rather be doing.

For me it is spending time with family and friends and travelling whenever I feel like it.

I came to realise that being busy was actually the worst thing I could be.

A lack of time means a lack of priorities. Focus on what you do (effectiveness), not how you do it (efficiency).

Ask yourself: if I could only work for a few hours a week what would I do to pay the bills?

Got the answer? Do it, then do it again!

...and enjoy the results!

 

 

Comments (16)add comment

Linda P said:

Hey Mike, I just purchased Affiliate X and I love it. I work way too many hours right now and I need to change that...thanks for all the great advice.
 
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November 05, 2009 | url
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Tim said:

Mike, I agree with your principal but do you find that you need to outsource tasks in order to make this work?
 
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November 06, 2009
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autonmike said:

Hi Tim

I cut a serious amount of time from my working day simply by prioritising tasks that made me good money and decreasing tasks that weren't making me enough money.

You don't have to outsource to make this principle work, but I've also found outsourcing to be a good way of increasing my profits.

Hope this helps

Mike
 
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November 09, 2009
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Malcolm Ross said:

Hi Mike.
Yes,yes and yes.
During the past several years I shudder to think how much time I've spent on writing articles,linking on blogs,trying make things happen the way other Guru's told how to do things, after buying this and that course.
I'm still very much a learner at GWM but I have actually had positive results.
The numbers are still small but for once I can see a way forward. I still have a lot to learn but I getting better at it and actually spending less time doing it.

Thanks Mike.

Malcolm.
 
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February 04, 2010
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autonmike said:

Glad to be of service, Malcolm.

Remember, if it works: do it again, and then again!

This is how I made a success out of starting in IM. Repeat proven formulas and systems and then repeat again :)

Mike
 
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February 04, 2010
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Sundance said:

Hi Mike ...

I really wanna thank you heaps !!! I've spent so much money online buying this guide and that guide... but none of it is as splendid as yours (HCH).

Also, through this article, i understand better now how to make it work.

Im still struggling on have eveerything set-up but in due time... i hope to quit my day job and make 5 times more & travel whenever i want to.

Thanks again Mike ;)
 
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May 23, 2010
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autonmike said:

Hi Sundance

Thanks for your kind comments :)

Wishiing you success.

Mike
 
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May 23, 2010
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Ken Wilson said:

Hi Mike,

I have been working and reading the Hard Cash Hijack system every day and all through the night. I thought creating a Iframe was difficult and now have created several. This is Amazing software and I can imagine the income potential. I am now working on Banner Creation and soon will be ready to put this system to full capacity. I am new to affiliate marketing and desparately want to be my own boss and I really hope that I can be SUCCESSFUL with this system. I am about to email some webmasters real soon and I hope if I need some assistance that you would really be there to help out. Maybe answer some questions or assist in helping me to get the most out of the Hijack system. Finally I like to tell you that you seem to really care about helping others and that is Admirable. May God continue you to bless you even more.
Sincerely
Ken Wilson
 
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May 28, 2010
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autonmike said:

Hi Ken

You seem to have a great attitude for affiliate marketing :)

To your success

Mike
 
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May 29, 2010
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Jan Smith said:

I have been looking and thinking of trying media buying for some months now but with this guide, I now have absolutely no excuse for procrastinating any longer.

Now that I have someone to 'take me by the hand' and guide me down the money path, I'm off and running :-)

So thank you :-)
 
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July 27, 2010
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Tom Grimshaw said:

Thought provoking and potentially game changing post Mike.

Thanks.
 
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August 02, 2010
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Sandor Kiss said:

Oohhh, it's strong. But it's good, too, to ask myself, what would I do really, if I want to work only some hours a week, to cover my financial duties? Wow, I asked now myself, and I knew the answer immediately! Is it so simple? Yes.
OK, I start asking anddoing the really important things!
thanx again.
 
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August 13, 2010
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autonmike said:

I'm very happy that this post is inspiring so many people.

to let more people read this post, click on retweet or share on facebook at the top of the page :)

Dedicated To Your Success

Mike
 
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August 13, 2010
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Chris said:

Mike Its great to be here i enjoy MCC Platinum so much to learn, just know that it is all worth it, great training and reccommend to all.
will link back when i have a new blog set up if that's ok.
Thanks again for a great program even newbies can use.
 
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March 31, 2011
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Chris said:

Don't know what happened there my post vanished.
Anyway just a quick thank you Mike,
really enjoy all the great training in MCC Platinum, recommend to all just awesome mate!
Aussie down under.
 
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March 31, 2011
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Michael said:

Be ruthless
Cut the tasks that are time consuming a create little profit. This is the driving priciple behind my latest guide.

Hi Mike
You seem to have been too ruthless and the link to "my latest guide" is not functioning!
 
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April 03, 2011
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