All work and no play makes life a little less worth living, don’t you think? In today’s fast-paced world, though, it seems harder than ever to find time to unplug and immerse yourself in the things that bring you joy.
Allowing yourself to not only have a good time but also to make it a valid part of your survival strategy is tough, but it can be done. I say, it must be done! You need to start by stepping back from the common paradigm and moving on to make the kind of lifestyle choices that will have a positive impact on both your business and your life.
The Health Benefits of Play
The benefits of play vary from person to person, but there are a number of things that tend to hold true no matter what your lifestyle. Doing things that bring you joy will benefit both your physical and mental health. Being playful isn’t just something that’s meant to be a brief diversion – it’s meant to be an imperative part of your life.
People who play more generally have a better mental wellbeing.
The mental benefits of play include:
- Being less prone to depression and anxiety.
- Being better able to control your physical wellness.
- Being able to learn how to calm your mind.
- Being able to focus on any given moment to become more mindful, calm and serene.
- Being more productive when you are doing your work.
The benefits of play also apply to your physical health.
These physical benefits of play include:
- Having lower blood pressure
- A stronger immune system.
- Being more able to recover from injury.
- Being able to stave off injuries and illnesses that come from being sedentary.
As you can imagine, the benefits of play are often promoted by physicians and psychologists for those who tend to have work-related illnesses.
Never forget that play is supposed to be a part of the human experience. If you’re not spending time having fun, you’re cutting out a valuable part of your health. It will only benefit you to find the time to experience the benefits of play.
Using the 80/20 Rule
Given the health benefits of play, it only makes sense to find effective ways to be efficient in your business life, so you have more time freedom. This does not, however, mean that you can give up on the idea of earning a living. After all, you’ve got to have a way to fund your joyful adventures. But there are ways you can continue to be an efficient businessperson while still going out and living the life that you’ve always wanted.
The key? Using the 80/20 rule to your advantage.
This is also known as The Pareto Principal. In short, this principal states that In nearly everything we do 80% of our positive results comes from 20% of our input and effort.
The question that arises then is why has our culture pushed us to work so hard and for so long for such meager return on our time investment?
Andrew Jensen, a business efficiency, marketing & performance expert, rightly states, “If you consistently work more than 40 hours a week it’s probably time for you to make a change. Overwhelming evidence suggests that work weeks of more than 40 hours are harmful not only to employees, but also to the company as a whole.”
I believe that even 40 hours a week is typically not necessary. Our old school work ethic leads us to believe that if we don’t hit the ground running and keep at it for 10, 12, 16 hours a day we are somehow failing to produce properly.
But consider the Pareto effect. If I can get 80% productivity from investing 20% of that time why would I not? If Jensen and Pareto are right, I can regularly be doing well above average by working only 8 hours a week in nearly any setting.
This rule changes if you have a true need to be the very best at a discipline or if you are creating products in an assembly line fashion. I’ll grant those caveats. But when I look to my business model, i.e. wanting to generate a sound living and have more free time to enjoy my world, I have found the 80/20 rule to be the ideal path to follow.
In my personal corporate experience, I watched my colleagues in a nearly constant state of frenetic activity. Always looking busy and acting as though they would never have enough time to do the work required of them.
The Pareto Principal at work
I started my day hitting the ground running, got the big stuff done then pulled back. On any given day, as a salaried employee, my day was typically done in 4-6 hours. At first, I thought I must be doing something wrong. Maybe I was missing something that was required of me. But when I saw that I was turning in all the requisite deliverables to my boss and was receiving some of the highest scores on my annual reviews. I had to rethink my ethic. During certain times of the year, such as budget and staff evaluations, I worked long days, but otherwise I only stuck around because it was expected of me to be sitting at my desk.
I was so very frustrated at the time I was wasting following the common business paradigm.
Now that I have my own internet business I no longer have to follow these artificial rules. There is still work to be done and I must attend to it. But when I’m done I can move on to spending time on the other things that I value.
I am driven by the desire to make a good living doing less work. I work very hard for that 20% of the time and the end result of 80% return on investment hits my goals. That, my friends, is enough.
If what’s going through your head right now is this all seems wrong I suggest you are just reacting to the work ethic paradigm we have all been brought up with. Please don’t cheat yourself out of the possibility of using this to your advantage.
Your work ethic still must be strong, but you gain no ground by marching in place. Do the work required to achieve your goals then occupy the rest of your time with those things you love to do. You can still be at a dead run for 60 hours a week but let most of those hours be in joyful pursuits.
the secret to success, then? It’s using the Pareto Principle in a way that
frees up more of your time so that you continue earning a good income while
exploring this new focus. My business is setup to have automatic systems keep
things flowing whether I’m in my office or not. In fact, because what I do with
my digital business requires nothing more than my having internet access, I can
do my required work from my campsite in the morning before I take a hike or in
the evening after my mountain bike ride.
It can’t be overstated how important it is to apply The Pareto Principle in a digital business. Doing so will free up a significant amount of your time so that you can focus on the things that bring you joy. Once you’ve eliminated or refocused the eighty percent of the time that you’re wasting, you’ll be able to dedicate so much more of your time to leisure. Once you make this choice, all you need to do is to figure out the best way to start using The Pareto Principle to your advantage.
Creating Your Ideal Reality
A huge part of creating a reality as outlined above involves applying The Pareto Principle in a digital business. For many, this means adapting to a new mode of self-employment that allows them work when it’s most profitable and to step out of the office when the surf’s up or the family is getting together.
can be incredibly simple to start having fun when you can bring your business
with you on the go. The best way to do this, of course, is through remote work
and embracing a laptop lifestyle.
When you think about applying the 80/20, rule you’ll probably notice that you have a lot of unprofitable time. Applying the Pareto Principle will free up more time to enjoy the healthful benefits of play in your life. A laptop lifestyle will let you stay connected with those who can actually make you money without tethering you to a desk and requiring you to waste your time with long commutes and interminable office meetings.
If you want to improve your life start by embracing the benefits of play. Then apply The Pareto Principle in your digital business.
Doing so will give you a unique opportunity to not only take control over your own life, but to give yourself permission to have more fun.
It benefits everyone when we properly invest our time and money to the advantage of our family, our life and our business.