Last week I started to re-read “The 4-hour work week” * by Tim Ferris. I have been wanting to re-read this book for reflection for a while now. I was especially curious to re-read the techniques Tim describes in his book. Techniques he used in his journey in going from a 60+ hour work week to one of considerably fewer hours. Techniques I can probably use to help me be more effective and efficient while sticking to my 4-day work week.

To some extent, the book is a very old-fashioned book. I remember purchasing “The 4-hour work week” at an airport while traveling somewhere in 2008, shortly after it was published. Most of my book reading today takes place on a Kindle. Reading a paper book has a very different feeling to it! Technology has also made a leap forward in the past 12 years. As such I found that it is important to focus my reflection on the principles in the book, rather than on the actual sites and technology he describes. 

One of the first principles I ran into while reading the book was the 80/20 rule, or better said Pareto’s Law. Not really something new, nor something that I never applied before. Vilfredo Pareto passed away in 1923 and so his law must have been around at least for some 100 years. The summary of Pareto’s law is that 80% of the output, or results, comes from 20% of the inputs, or your efforts. It also applies the other way around: 80% of your efforts lead to only 20% of the results. 

I’m sure you have heard of this before. That’s what reflection does, it creates “aha” moments, it opens doors in your memory that were temporarily shut. Old knowledge or techniques can be applied in a new flavor or in new circumstances. That’s what I started doing: I went through my todo list and for each action I wondered “does it contribute to the 80% results, or is it part of the 80% effort?”. If it belonged to the latter category, I looked at how I could say goodbye to such a task. It’s a liberating exercise that creates new space. I would highly advise you to do a similar exercise and ask yourself: to which of your own activities is it time to say goodbye?

The same applies to your alliances and partnerships. You have your Alliance Health Checks for your alliance portfolio in progress. Now, next to the Alliance Health Check, also look at the broader performance of the alliance. Then, consider: which one of your alliances belong to the category that asks for 80% of your time and effort and contributes only to 20% of the value you want to generate? Is it time to say goodbye to (some of) them?