Today, we will explore five common mistakes that lead to unnecessary hard work.
1. Doing the wrong things
Often we are too busy because we do tasks we should not be doing in the first place.
We may be focusing on the 80% of tasks that produce 20% of the results rather than the other way around.
We can ask: what is the 20% of tasks that produce 80% of the results?
Many of us waste an extensive amount of time in ineffective meetings.
We might be doing a task that we do not enjoy and therefore, we have to work a lot harder at it. We need to find a way to enjoy it, drop it or outsource it.
Another question I like to ask to identify where to focus on is: What is it that only you can do in your organization?
2. Optimizing for productivity rather than creativity
School trained us to be factory workers. We learned to optimize for productivity and efficiency.
Yet, most of us in business do not need productivity and efficiency to succeed. We need innovation and creativity.
Creativity is, by definition, inefficient. Many of the ideas we explore are dead-end paths. During the creative process, there is mess and uncertainty. We cannot predict how much time the final product will take.
Last week, I returned from my morning walk and had an extensive to-do list. Instead of sitting at my desk and starting to execute, I stayed on my sofa browsing social media.
My inner critic started judging me for procrastinating and not being productive.
After an hour of mocking about, inspiration struck. I wrote two social media posts that were viewed more than 10,000 times.
If I had not allowed myself the time to muck about, I would have missed an opportunity. I would not have produced something that had a lot more impact for my community and business than whatever tasks I needed to do.
Creativity needs spaciousness. It is not about quantity but the quality of the final idea that gets out in the world.
And, if done well, it will have a lot more impact than many tiny little tasks.
3. Not using leverage
Humans have used leverage to make work easier for thousands of years.
Nowadays, there are four types of leverage, beautifully explained by Naval Ravicant:
Labour: Often, we should not be the ones doing a task. We can hire someone to do it better, faster and cheaper.
At the beginning of our careers, we give our time for money. At some point, we need to make the shift, though, and most people never do.
Successful people give their money to make time because they know that money, unlike time, is a renewable resource. They value their time more than their money and end up having more of both.
It is worth saying here that investing in mentorship and education will save us plenty of hard work. We will learn from other people’s mistakes; we will learn better ways of doing things as well as adopt a success mindset that will support us.
Capital: If we have enough money, we can invest in income-producing assets. Then work becomes optional.
Media: Yesterday, I received an offer to sell the rights to my Hold Successful Meetings book in the Vietnamese market.
That is more impact and more revenue for me for no extra work. A book is a form of media; it can scale indefinitely at minimal additional cost.
I stopped doing sales calls for 1:1 coaching last year and replaced them with the LeaderPath Show.
In an hour, I reach hundreds of people instead of one, let alone the people who watch the replay. Media is one of the best ways of leverage I know.
Technology: What can you automate? What can technology help you do with less effort?
With the advancement of AI, the opportunities to use technology to ease our workload are astonishing.
4. Thinking you have to work hard to get the result
The recent research on health and fitness is blowing my mind.
For example, they found that the critical factor in establishing a habit like exercise is whether you have fun while doing it.
Also, too strenuous aerobic workouts might be contributing to weight gain. Your body gets into a fat-storing mode as it want to weather out the intensity you frequently submit it.
Who knew that more pleasurable and easy would have better results for your waistline?
The idea that you must work hard to achieve anything is a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Yes, you usually improve what you give time and attention to, but the struggle is rarely necessary. What’s more, it is generally counterproductive.
Here is what I wrote in a previous article:
I don’t believe the statement “Nothing worth having comes easy.”
It is a dangerous statement that can become a self-fulfilling prophecy for many.
I choose to believe something different:
“It might come easy, or I may have to work for it. Either way, I am in.”
“I am supported.”
“When I am on my path, unpredictable ideas and opportunities flow my way.”
“I have fun experimenting. It will either work, or I will learn something valuable.”
“When I do work I love, I get into flow, and it feels great.”
“My path feels joyful and fulfilling.”
“Some of the most precious things in life are the easiest.”
“We were all born worthy of everything worth having.”
5. Avoiding working on yourself, and therefore, having to work harder on your business.
If you avoid doing the work on yourself, you will have to work harder on your business.
You become magnetic when you tune into yourself, let go of anything that is not you, and turn your shadows into lessons.
Clients, team members and collaborators are attracted to you, and you achieve much more with less effort.
If you avoid doing the inner work, you will likely have layers of dysfunctional thinking hiding your brilliance.
You can’t rely on magnetism. You have to rely on the old blood, sweat and tears.
You have to work a lot harder to achieve the same results.
When work feels like an uphill battle, it may be time to breathe and look within.
Let’s not make our path more strenuous and challenging than it has to be.
Focusing on the right things, optimizing for creativity, using leverage, allowing it to be easy and working on ourselves first will allow for more fun and effortlessness.
Which of the points above resonated with you? Hit reply and let me know.