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Fifty is nifty but twenty is plenty

© December 2008 Anthony Lawrence

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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-> Do you work too much?


Inexpensive and informative Apple related e-books:

Take control of Apple TV, Second Edition

Take Control of Pages

Take Control of Parallels Desktop 12

Digital Sharing Crash Course

Are Your Bits Flipped?

More Articles by © Anthony Lawrence

Thu Dec 11 02:15:23 2008: 4898   Sean

So, do you have a rule of thumb for pricing your time, given you only want to bill for 20-50% of a 40 hour week?

Thu Dec 11 10:24:18 2008: 4899   TonyLawrence

Of course: you divide your weekly goal by 20.

Thu May 28 14:12:38 2009: 6422   Jukkapaulin

Good advice!
I think IT and especially being entrepreneur there is a burn-out opportunity just waiting to happen. Because the systems don't get more simple; and there's definitely always work to do - after it starts rolling.


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I wanted to learn how to swim, so Google showed me how to turn on the water at the sink and let me splash it around a bit. They then dragged me into a helicopter, flew way out into the ocean and dumped me out. (Tony Lawrence)

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