Balance – at Least 80% of the Time

This article is by Sean Keefer, author of The Trust.

I’m really happy I can say my first book, The Trust, is done.  People can buy it and hopefully some are even reading it.

So now it is on to book two. Well, at least when I can find time to write.

There are authors who earn a comfortable living working only as writers.  However I venture to say if you have 100 writers and create two groups – the first, writers who ply their craft fulltime and the second, those who have to write when they can find the time. I believe the second group will be exponentially larger than the first.

Why is this?

First some writers aren’t that good and likely won’t be able to earn a living writing.  However, I’m reasonably sure that being a good writer isn’t a prerequisite for being able to make a living at the craft.

Next, I believe there’s an element of luck involved in being a successful writer – being in the right place at the right time.  However, I believe the main thing that will allow the best chance of moving from group 2 to group 1 is time management.

In essence, I feel certain those in the first group either have the time or have made the time to put in the hours necessary to be successful.

So where do you find the time?

Easy answer.  You make it.

In addition to my writing, I work a full time job.  I’m also a musician.  I have a family.  I work a full time job. Oh, I already mentioned that.  Yes, and I have a book I’m marketing.  These things just scratch the surface of forces fighting for my time and attention.  In fact, most that read this will have at least as many things competing for their time.  If not more.

On top of all of this I’m still trying to write a book.

How do I do all of this?  Sometimes I don’t.

However, all of this is certainly manageable.  It’s all about balance.  Balance and priority.

Have you ever heard of the 80/20 principle?  Not my idea, actually an Italian economist developed the theory more than 100 years ago.  There is even a bestseller on the charts that takes this theory and develops it to the nth degree.

It goes like this.

In most endeavors, 80% of the return/production comes from 20% of the effort/time invested.  Essentially this means we waste around 80% of our time and get most of our work done in the other 20%.

When I first heard this I was skeptical but then did an examination of the way I spend my time.

Inefficient was the only word to describe it.  From interruptions, to poor scheduling to unproductive activities, my daily efforts were a model of the unproductive.

Fortunately things were easy enough to fix.  I cut the excess, grouped my tasks and found I was able to not only get more done in the same time, but I had extra time to devote to the things I really love – my family, my life and my writing.

There are things that simply must be done and even with planning there will be time requirements that will pull you away from what you are doing.  But if you minimize the things in your life that can cause the moments of time vacuum drama then you are ahead of the game.

This approach won’t mean that work will go away or that there won’t be an emergency with a child or friend or even that an asteroid won’t land in your backyard, but the unexpected is just that, unexpected, and will always be there.  The key is to identify that which you already know of, that which you can control and don’t let what you can control have a negative controlling impact on you and what you love.

About the Author:

Sean Keefer is the author of The Trust.  For more information visit or follow Sean on Twitter @thetrustnovel.

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4 years ago

I agree; time management is crucial. I’m still trying to gain control. This year, I’m removing things from my life that steals time away from the things I really want to do. It’s crazy how we can get involved in things that we don’t really want to do but feel obligated to do. It’s only because others don’t want to do them. They aren’t earth-moving things, just things that eat up time.

I haven’t heard of the 80/20 thing before. I’ll have to read more about that.


Alice Leiper
Alice Leiper
4 years ago

Are there any tools you could recommend to help those of us who are, shall we say, less well versed in time management to help us out in that department? Apps, processes, etc?

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