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5 Activities I Need to Quit Today and 5 I Need to Do More Of – My 80-20 Work Week

Have you ever had a really good internal debate about what activities you should be doing to push your business forward and what you shouldn’t?

For a long time I had the focus that everyday I worked on my business I had to do “something” that pushed my business forward.

Although this was good to make sure I was working on something new and moving the business forward it wasn’t always the most efficient use of my time.

Today I take a deep dive into the activities I do as part of running my online business and

If you are like me and have very few hrs to devote to your business then like me we must be ruthless about only working on activities that are effective at growing our business.


My Typical Online Work Schedule:

  • Mon-Fri – 8pm-10pm (often 11 or later)
  • Sat & Sun – 1-3pm(nap time) & 8-10pm
  • Occasionally I take a vacation day and crush 17hrs of online work
  • Total Average Hours Worked Per Week = 15-25

Clearly I don’t have unlimited hours to devote to my online business and must be efficient every time I sit down to do work.


3 Basic Steps to Identify Your 80-20:

Here is the super simple method I used to determine my 80-20…

  • Write down a rough draft listing the activities that you spend a lot of time on and those you think have the biggest impact on your business.
  • Talk it over with people who know you the best (my wife provided some interesting insights)
  • Analyze your business in retrospect and see what activities drove any recent successes. What activities have you done over the last couple of weeks that really impacted your business.

Although not perfect in the name of the 80-20 principal these 3 steps should get you 80% of your list.

2 Basic Steps to Spend More Time on Your Most Effective Activities:

  • Focus on turning your 80% result/20% time activities into habits
  • Work on them first every day (Eat That Frog First)

I have definitely over simplified how to turn something into a habit and for a much better plan on turning activities into habits read (The Power of Habit)


5 Activities That Take 80% of My Time & Produce 20% of My Results:

Working through my 80-20 it was just as important to identify what not to work on as what to work on. In his book “The Willpower Effect” Kelly McGoncil quotes studies showing that having a “not to-do” list can be effective at getting us to do the more difficult/more valuable tasks on our list.


ONE – Vanity Metric Checking

Checking metrics has a place in my business (as you will see below). But checking metrics just to see “how am I doing” can be a major waste of time. If I am checking metrics for just interest sake and without a specific question in mind it is a waste of time.

My wife takes care of identifying when stats go awry and I need to jump in to see what has happened. But for me to also just poke around my stats (Analytics, Amazon, CJ, Clickbank, PerfectAudience, Zaxaa, Market.Source-Wave, PayPal + others) all can be a waste of time!


TWO – Unfocused Email Checking

This one pained me the most to admit because it is something that impacts the quality of time I spend with my kids. Even though I try and stick to my rule of “no work while the kids are awake” it doesn’t always happen.

Not only does checking my email on my phone/laptop in an unfocused manner when my kids are awake break that rule it provides little value. Often I will find myself checking email and tagging it for me to follow up later…not only did I burn a couple minutes I could have been playing with my 2.5yr old and 8month old but I accomplished nothing.

Sacrificing some family time to grow my online business is at times the right decision (my wife takes both for a long hike some mornings for me to put in another couple hours) but this is a heads up conscious decision with the aim to get a specific piece of work completed.

Scary math… If I check email on my phone for 5 minutes per hr between 5:30pm-7:30pm I am spending almost 10%(8.3%) of my mid-week time with my kids doing unproductive work…terrible!

Although this isn’t one of my biggest time sinks it is worth special attention on this list because of the importance of the time it takes away.


THREE – Doing Team Members Work For Them

Sometimes I find myself digging into different steps in my procedures and actually executing the work…whether it is domain finding, title creation, content publishing etc I can quickly spend 1-2hrs doing jobs that I have people on my team capable of doing.

I have told myself this is a good use of my time because it keeps me intimate with the process and I am in a better position to do my job of building systems and managing people.  Although I believe it to be useful time it does not produce 80% of my results and something I need to stop in favour of more productive activities.


FOUR – Reading/Watching Non Specific Training

Like you I enjoy keeping current on all the popular online entrepreneur/SEO blogs.

Although this reading is interesting for me and not a complete waste of time, I really need stop doing this during my productive work time.

Catching up on my reading during non-productive times is best (oil change etc).


FIVE – “Chatting” (Unfocused conversations)

This one sucks because I enjoy it but something I have to admit…unfocused chatting can be a huge time sink. Catching up with friends online or unfocused discussions with anyone can produce interesting nuggets of information but I can lose an entire night of work down this path.

Keeping all my conversations more focused will be a challenge since I both enjoy them and don’t want to come across as an asshole but I do need to cut down on unfocused “chatting”.


5 Activities That Take 20% of My Time & Produce 80% of My Results:


ONE – Focused Sales Calls and Emails

One of the most enjoyable parts of my job is chatting with people looking at how I can integrate my team and services into their business. Whether it is a large website portfolio owner or SEO agency talking through strategy and setting them up with a custom solution that meets their needs and works with my systems is both enjoyable and one of the highest points of leverage I can use my time for.


TWO – Setting Up New Projects / Systematizing New Ideas

If I were to pick one reason my business has had some success online it would be my ability to quickly systematize a new idea. Whether it was for a new big project (six figure challenge website) or testing through a simple idea (301 building block strategy) turning my idea into a spreadsheet with actionable steps for my team to execute is the key for my online business to tackle new projects.

Identifying these opportunities and turning them into an executable system quickly is probably the best way for me to spend my time!

For example identifying the marketplace at Source-Wave as an opportunity for selling my Done For You PBN service I had a system for fulfilling orders in under 24hrs completed in one workday (4hrs). All orders are now being fulfilled with 0(usually) involvement from myself and it has been the BEST SELLING service on the marketplace for the last 2 weeks (Pre-Built Done for You PBN).

Identifying opportunity and systematizing the implementation of that idea definitely falls in the center of the finding your craft triangle from the book What Color Is Your Parachute

  1. What You Enjoy
  2. What You Are Good At
  3. What You Can Get Financially Rewarded For




THREE – Weekly Meeting With Key Management

A weekly meeting with the key leadership position(s) in my business is the most effective management activity I can do (Manager Tools).

When I have failed to do this or had these meetings stopped progress has slipped. When I paused the weekly meetings with the project manager for my six figure challenge project momentum stalled and ultimately all the team that was built but 2 writers are no longer working on it.

The format I have found the most effective is a review of a Google Spreadsheet with a list of all the KPIs that are important and the manager is responsible for. In addition to reviewing the hard numbers we go over any “Key Issues”, “Main Goal” and “Follow Up List”.

This format has seemed to be the best fit combining both data and general strategy discussions.


FOUR – DEEP Dive Into Metrics to Optimize for a Specific Metric

I listed reviewing vanity metrics as a less effective use of my time but digging into metrics to answer a specific question is a GREAT use of my time.

Often when I want to increase a goal(opt ins, CTR, conversions etc) there is a lot of room for improvement and a great use of my time.

Starting with a specific goal in mind(increasing the click through rate for a money site) and then digging into the analytics can be some of the best use of my time.


FIVE – Writing & Content Creation

This one is obvious… creating helpful content for AuthorityWebsiteIncome or a podcast interview is something only I can do and a great use of my time!


Final Thoughts

What is your biggest time suck?

What activities do you not do enough of that you know produces a lot of value for your business?

About the Author Jon

I am a 36 year old husband, father of 3, engineer and a huge fan of developing systems to build useful and profitable websites. The reason I build online businesses is to provide financial independence for my family and yours AND so I can spend time outside skiing and biking with my family.
Jon Gillham, Online Entrepreneur

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