How I Went From Working 60 Hours A Week To 20

What’s the one thing you can never get back?

Time.

I was clocking 60+ hours a week in my business, staying up late at night and developing bad habits. Although my business was growing, I eventually got burned out.

Business isn’t what most people conceptualize it as.

This idea of wanting to start a business so you can quit your job and work your own hours usually never ends up like that. Instead, you’re working longer hours than you were at your job and with many more responsibilities.

Thankfully, I don’t work crazy hours anymore.

A typical week for me averages about 20 hours. Here’s a screenshot that was taken from my RescueTime dashboard:

Here’s last week’s report:

I want to share with you how I was able to reduce my hours drastically while still growing the business.

What Was My Motive For Working Less?

It really didn’t come apparent to me until my wife fell pregnant. That’s when we sat down and she got me to rethink where my time was going.

Apart from handling the branding of my business, my wife is my biggest supporter and has a contributing factor on the direction of the business. She sees the bigger picture and challenges me to think about why I’m doing what I’m doing. Her strengths are my weaknesses, and I discovered I have a lot of weaknesses.

Ultimately, I wanted to live life on my own terms. That means, working when I want and being able to spend time with my family.

There had to be a better and smarter way—a way for me to make sure on the days and hours I worked was the best use of my time.

A Regret I Made In My Business

One of the biggest regrets in my business is not hiring people sooner.

I didn’t treat my business like a real business.

I was doing everything myself to save on costs: designing, writing, updating my website, fixing bugs, bookkeeping, customer service, you name it.

It took three years until I hired a web designer, four years until I hired a writer and eight years until I hired a full-time virtual assistant (VA).

I wasn’t using my time effectively. Instead, I was spending all my hours doing tasks that could have easily been done by someone else.

Even though a lot of the tasks were easy to do, it’s those minuscule tasks that dragged me down the rest of the day.

4 Things I Did That Helped Me Go From 60 to 20 Hours a Week

1. I created a schedule.

This point may sound simple and obvious but by not setting a proper schedule, you’ll end up working all over the place, and people won’t respect your time. That’s how I was working for many years. I would put in a few hours here and a few hours there which lead to not putting in any solid work. Together with my wife, we worked out a routine so that we could have a good balance of family and work time. My work days are Mondays to Thursdays, working about 5 hours a day with an occasional hour or two on some other days.

2. I applied the 80/20 Principle.

What’s the 80/20 principle? Simply put, it means 80% of the results come from 20% of the activities you do. How I applied it to my business was simple. I made sure to work on the 20% of tasks that produced 80% of the sales. For me, it was things like strategizing the business, coming up with topics for my ebook business, writing newsletters to my email subscribers and writing content for my blog and social media accounts. I not only look at what tasks bring in the most ROI but also tasks that I enjoy doing.

3. I applied Parkinson’s Law.

Another principle I followed is Parkinson’s Law. In theory, it means work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion. How do I use it? I know that my work days are Mondays to Thursdays so I make sure I get any work done that I planned to do for the week on those days. I also use this law with my team. If I give a team member until the end of the day to complete a certain task, he/she will get it done. But, if instead, I give the team member until the end of the week to complete the task, he/she will most likely get it done by then, at least from my experience.

4. I outsourced anything that I repeated more than once.

Any task that I repeated more than once, I wrote down so that I could eventually delegate it. I then recorded my screen showing how I do a particular task and then passed it on to an appropriate team member. As I delegated more and more tasks, I felt a huge weight off my shoulders. I highly recommend a book called The Gift of Time by Gail Thomas. It shows you practical steps you can follow to gain back valuable time by delegating.

You “Make Time” In The End

There’s no such thing as trying to find time. Everyone has 24 hours in their day.

I strongly believe everything you attract in life is intentional. You make the decisions in the end. You decide whether you want to prioritize work over family/life.

When you’ve set your days and hours of work, then you know when to put in 100% of your focus and when to switch off.

Aurelius Tjin