Let me share a little tip I use to stay productive in my business without getting bored or burned out.
It’s a variation of the famous Pareto 80/20 principle, which says that 80% of your results come from 20% of your efforts.
Example: in Internet marketing, 80% of your online income will come from 20% of your e-list subscribers.
If you test 10 Google pay-per-click ads, 80% of the clicks will be generated by 2 of the ads.
In my freelance writing, I use the Pareto Principle this way: 80% of assignments I take are in areas where I already have experience and expertise, and 20% of my writing is in areas that are new to me.
Why this 80/20 ratio?
By spending 80% of my time (in reality my ratio is actually closer to 90/10) in familiar areas, I can work much faster because of my knowledge and experience. So my productivity soars.
By spending 10% to 20% of my time working in new areas, I stay fresh and prevent boredom from setting in.
I have come across several writers who tell me they abhor specialization and always write articles on new topics their editors assign them. In this way they are never bored.
On the other hand, they don’t amortize what they learn on one topic over other assignments. So all that learning is in essence wasted, at least from a work perspective.
These generalists have to learn a new subject for every assignment. As a result, each new article takes a long time, and their output and income are limited as a result.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, I read one writer who seems to spend 100% of his time writing about an exceedingly narrow niche: silver prices.
I admire the authority with which he writes on this subject. Indeed, he is likely one of the foremost experts in the world on silver.
On the other hand, if I wrote about nothing but silver prices 40 to 60 hours a week, every week of the year, I’d be bored to tears.
I can’t tell you what to do or how to spend your time at work.
But I do recommend the Pareto Principle: 80% of your time on familiar tasks and 20% of your time exploring new areas.
This strategy keeps me productive, fresh, and engaged. Maybe it can for you too.
Bob Bly is the author of “World’s Best Copywriting Secrets” and has written copy for more than 100 companies including IBM, Boardroom, Medical Economics and AT&T. He is the author of more than 75 books and a columnist for Target Marketing, Early To Rise and The Writer. McGraw-Hill calls him “America’s top copywriter”.
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