In 2007, Tim Ferriss released his book “The 4-Hour Workweek” which led Ferriss to becoming a New York Times best-selling author. The book teaches us how to escape the 9-5, live anywhere, and still make revenue. Most importantly, it teaches us that to make an impact, we don’t have to slave away and be forever productive. Despite the book coming out almost fifteen years ago, it seems that in the modern world and even in our freelance circle, we haven’t fluently learnt to prioritise impact over productivity – one doesn’t always equal the other.
What often feels so frustrating is that we are all so busy. But if we look at the actions completed, how many of them actually have given, takeout or profit? When we are burning the candle at both ends, we often aren’t focused. Ferriss discovered that when he was running on an empty engine, he was spending 70% of his income on food! Because he didn’t have the time to break it down and focus on his spendings.
Human beings are inherently lazy and the few people that take it upon themselves to rise above the bar that’s set, well, pretty darn low, enjoy a lot of benefits for doing so. The secret? Only do the things that actually matter a lot better. Doing less will allow you to complete these crucial tasks a lot better because you’ll be more focused.
Another way to break this down better is the 80/20 rule – used by people like Ferriss. What it means and identifies is that 80% of your results come from 20% of your efforts. What this means is that you can drop almost 80% of your work and really push that 20% which delivers the results. If we apply this to the life of a creative freelancer, that 20% may be a client that only takes you on once every 3 months but pays you four times as much as the client that takes you on once a month. The solution? Find more clients that pay you a large amount. Yes, they’re harder to find but if you drop the clients that pay you little, you’ll have more time to find some.
You can cut 2 hours out of a workday if you work extra hard only on the work that really counts. If you’re a musician, write a song in 2 hours then reach out to producers and agencies for the next hour. Maybe record it for an hour so you have a demo and boom – you’ve had a productive day and only had to really focus for hours. It’s kind of like HIIT workouts where you work your butt off for 15 minutes but burn the same amount of calories that you would in a 90-minute walk or 45-minute run.
Try taking some of these points in order to free up your time, improve your mental health, thrive in your social life and still make revenue while satisfying your creative itches.