The "fifty is nifty" actually came from a long ago business partnership
in the hobby ceramics business. I wrote about that a little bit in
Where are you going to get the boxes?. The "fifty" alluded to the fact that
we offered a fifty percent discount to our wholesale customers. Our
largest competition (relatives of my partner) offered twenty percent so my partner would taunt his cousins with the sarcastic "Fifty is nifty but twenty
is plenty" - of course implying that twenty percent was NOT "plenty".
I started using the phrase in a different context years later. It
was 1986 when I realized that I was working far too hard. I had been
billing forty hours a week, week after week for months. Of course
I had plenty of other work to do beyond those billable hours:
research, prep time, invoicing, prospecting.. oh, yeah: and a very small
amount of family time and sleep. I was drained, mentally and physically.
I decided then and there to stop working so hard and I thought of
that "fifty is nifty" and reused it for weekly billable hours.
My Psst - Wanna work for yourself? e-book talks about balancing work and living much more, but the basic idea is that
you shouldn't have to put in seventy hours a week in any job. Sure,
there may be times when you need to do a burst of work, there may be times
when you are all fired up and you WANT to work extra hours, but you need
to leave time for living, for family, for friends, for YOU.
Fifty is nifty but twenty is plenty.
Words to remember.
By the way, I was reminded of this today by a post at Men With Pens
entitled Balancing Work and Work. You might want to read that.
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