Important question from a reader -
I have come to believe that motivation is a limited and renewable resource. My day job as a trader is intense and stressful and I am left with little motivation by the end of the day. I have realized that I need to shift from working hard to working smart. In my case, this means giving away maintenance tasks to others while I work on new creative projects. Unfortunately, this is a challenge because I take on too much responsibility over my creations. I am hesitant to hand things off to others because I tend to micromanage. I need to learn how to let go of old responsibilities so I can take on new, and more profitable ones.
I suffered through the same thing.
You're probably a maximizer.
From Wikipedia -
"Satisficing... is a decision-making strategy that attempts to meet criteria for adequacy, rather than to identify an optimal solution. A satisficing strategy may often be (near) optimal if the costs of the decision-making process itself, such as the cost of obtaining complete information, are considered in the outcome calculus.
The word satisfice was coined by Herbert Simon in 1956. He pointed out that human beings lack the cognitive resources to maximize: we usually do not know the relevant probabilities of outcomes, we can rarely evaluate all outcomes with sufficient precision, and our memories are weak and unreliable. A more realistic approach to rationality takes into account these limitations: This is called bounded rationality."
Popularized in Barry Schwartz's Paradox of Choice.
Basically, maximizers try to get everything as perfect as possible, and feel let down if they don't get it perfect. Ironically, maximizers actually accomplish less than satisficers. Satisficers set minimum parameters for success and make sure they're met.
How do you delegate? You set minimum standards, write them down, communicate them clearly, and then let go of the fact that things won't be perfect. In fact, the job done will probably be worse than if you did it yourself, but it doesn't matter as long as it meets your base standards - and it frees up your time to do more.
If you can't delegate, then you are consigned to playing life small. To me that was the takeaway for Tim Ferriss's book (The 4-Hour Workweek).
What you describe here is also a core concept in Agile software development methodologies, which have absolute relevance in any context when talking about getting results. I have been making my way through a book by J.D. Meier titled "Getting Results the Agile Way", which applies this principle along with many others drawn from Agile practices to the whole.
The one amazing truth that I have come to realize and am continuing to realize daily, is that simplicity and action is at the core of productivity and making things happen; don't strive for perfection, rather "good enough" being the objective, and don't wait for inspiration--just (make time and) do it.
These simple concepts have had an enormous impact on my productivity, momentum toward success and the over-arching peace that comes with a directed life in only the past several weeks, and while I am still learning, growing and developing the skills and habits to sustain this direction, the payoff has started coming in a lot sooner than I expected.
Keep up the good work that you so graciously share with us.
The largest mental gains I made in the shortest period of time were from studying rationality.
I was amazed to discover a couple years ago that there were people who regularly studied and discussed how to think, how to get correct and accurate beliefs about how the world works, how to understand how your mind works, and to get at the real reasons people make decisions.
The whole rationality thing is as addictive as crack-cocaine for me. I love it. The difference from crack, though, is you grow stronger and smarter the more you dive in.
Our minds are funny. We humans, we're "adaptation exercisers, not fitness maximizers" -
Fifty thousand years ago, the taste buds of Homo sapiens directed their bearers to the scarcest, most critical food resources - sugar and fat. Calories, in a word. Today, the context of a taste bud's function has changed, but the taste buds themselves have not. Calories, far from being scarce (in First World countries), are actively harmful. Micronutrients that were reliably abundant in leaves and nuts are absent from bread, but our taste buds don't complain. A scoop of ice cream is a superstimulus, containing more sugar, fat, and salt than anything in the ancestral environment.
Sometimes, eventually, a decision must be made - Fr. Anthony Odiong, one of the wisest people I've ever met
I've heard this from several people now, and it makes sense: Tough decisions don't matter, since the reason why they're tough is presumably because the risk/reward for all of the options is nearly equal and thus neither is clearly better. But since they're nearly equal, why not just pick one?
Obviously this isn't prudent in every case, but spending a lot of time deliberating certainly can't be the best option.
On the other hand, due to circumstances, sometimes it does pay to take more time for reasons having nothing to do with the decision itself. I'll use an example: social networks. While obviously there are many reasons why Facebook took off whereas Myspace et all didn't, being first certainly didn't help Myspace. In fact, I remember most of my friends switching to Facebook because it was "a better social network than Myspace".
Think about that. If Myspace and Xanga hadn't been around, the concept of 'social network' wouldn't have existed. Then there would be nothing to compare it to. Now if Facebook had come around a couple years later, there might've been an entirely different giant in that niche. They launched at an optimal time.