Monday, June 20, 2016

Massive Productivity Improvement #2: 80/20 Rule, Less Doing, More Living

You want to live more and work less, it's a universal goal. Who doesn't want to more of their energy into family, fun, and self-improvement time-- if only they had the energy left after work ? As a self-employed creative, it's too make your work hours stretch from sunrise to sunset, but that's actually far less productive than having optimized, automated, outsourced work days. Here are some tips I gleaned on the "80/20" rule from Ari Meisel on spending 20% of your energy on work and the remaining 80% on rest, wellness and self-improvement.

1. Align your work with improving yourself and you'll be investing in yourself.

This does double duty with your time and energy. When I wanted to learn how to make delicious gourmet raw vegan food I talked to the owner of a local raw vegan caterer and got a job making it. Later I'd teach the skills learned at a holistic health school where I'd work behind-the-scenes in marketing. I'm always scouring Craigslist and local businesses of my interest for the next work-learning opportunity.

2. Automate & Outsource.

Automate and outsource tasks whenever possible so you can spend more time on the important tasks, not busy work. Review your tasks for the day frequently to determine what else you could automate or delegate.

3. Customize.

Always work at finding more efficient solutions to problems to save time and energy. If you can't find specific money saving tools made (like a slicer that cuts 7 pie pieces at once if you're a baker) have them custom-made.

I use homemade photo backdrops to batch my blog photo-taking.

4. Identify your work biorhythms. 

Working at your peak optimal time increases productivity by 100 to 200 percent! When do you feel most focused and energized to work? For many people it's your first couple of waking hours, whenever it is, work hard doing those hours to maximize productivity.

5. Batch Similar Activities. 

According to Ari and other neurologists, switching from tasks to task is not multi-tasking, multi-tasking doesn't truly exist. (*Upon reading this I look the half-finished projects on my desk from my stubborn refusal to always attempt "multi-tasking" and sigh with resignation.*) Instead, energy is used far more effectively if we complete similar projects together in batches. Again for the baking analogy, this is pouring all your chocolate molds at the same time. If you're a painter, you're prepping multiple canvases with gesso at the same time, like an assembly line worker.

Random Yuko photo-outtakes. As I type this she's sitting on my notes looking at me. She's one of THOSE cats.

6. No Errand Running.

Minimize errand running. Keep a good inventory and have your supplies delivered before you're out, or delegate the task.

7. Set Time Limits.

Figure out what you need to do and make it happen within a limited time frame so you can spend your energy on things other than dragging on that work.

See Also: Massive Productivity Improvement #2: Three Goals Per Week. Three Tasks Per Day.

I love Ari's practical 80/20 and Less Doing/More Living rules. For many of creatives automating, outsourcing, delegating and giving up multi-tasking are particularly difficult tasks, but they're essential for freeing up more energy for self-development and wellness. I'm going to keep using my timer and attempting to stay focused on ONE task at a time, I hope you try some of these tips and free up some "work" energy so you have more "fun' energy, too.
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  1. Awesome advice! I'm comfortable outsourcing the technical stuff of my websites, which saves me a lot of time. I get all my supplies delivered. I prefer getting the difficult tasks done in the early hours!

    p.s. love your vintage typewriter :)

    1. I could easily see all of that for you, you're clearly very organized with your business. I'm not there yet! The vintage typewriter was my mom's, my only family heirloom at the moment.

  2. Great advice! I'm a big one for "batch" work- now if I could only complete all the rest of the steps, I'll be all set! ;-)

    1. Haha, I feel you. I batch, automate bills (need to do more) and align work with self-improvement but need help being consistent with all the rest. I use my timer often but rarely obey it and keep going...

  3. Love that vintage typewriter!
    I could definitely be more organized. Always so much to do!

    1. Thanks! Yep, always -too- much to do. Organize and productivity is a constant improvement point for me.

  4. I agree with everyone else, I wasn't quite sure what it was when i first saw it. But after reading this I'm willing to try it! It sounds interesting....


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