Got a great email from a reader about the value of systems for consistency and enabling you to do more. My reply -
Awesome email B, 100% agree.
I've been thinking about this a lot lately. I think you could define three stages towards becoming very very successful -
1. Basic learning/understanding: Figuring out what's worth training in/learning, what's legit, what isn't, starting to read the right books, figure out what to work, confront unpleasant reality when necessary, etc.
2. Start spending your time on what matters: Fitness, building, sales, connecting with people, interpersonal skills, etc, etc.
I think a lot of people do the first two and become successful far above average, but I think it maxes out. Just spending time on what you've realized is important is good, but it won't get you to the highest levels.
System design comes next -
3. Systems: Organize things so they happen consistently and near automatically. Systematically eliminate low level tasks - everything from cleaning to grocery shopping to details. Then eliminate mid-level tasks by hiring accountants, bookkeepers, managers, assistants, etc. Focus on the highest level stuff - development, creative work, enterprising, connecting with people, inventing, etc, etc.
That's actually one of my biggest pushes. Over the past few years, I figured out a lot of what's important, studied a mix of fields that are eye-opening and give options, started systematically working on that stuff, but now... well, I'm up against the 24-hour-per-day wall. System design comes next.
'The E-Myth Revisited' talks about this, with McDonalds as a primary example. Excellent read if you're interested in the topic.
I think you can sum this up as: find the bottleneck in your life and improve it. That's the only thing that will show visible progress. I think it relates to another post you made, something about "even a little bit of annihilation annihilates completely". If you have a zero anywhere, nothing else will matter.
I first came across this idea many years ago in high school when reading about the strategies behind the success of McDonalds. It was simply summarized as "The system runs the business, the people run the system". It means that the day to day operational side of the business can be managed by less skilled staff, and the higher level staff have more time to focus on the big picture.
Hey, great post. Seems like exactly what I've been mulling over in my head over the past month or so, this three step process.
I feel like I've got step one sorted out, for the most part. Step two is essentially a matter of action, motivation and dedication - something to be cultivated every day.
Step three is where I get really interested - I'm in the process of building a system for a business model I've been running for the past month, and it's the most fascinating aspect of the business I've run into yet. This is no million dollar business model, but it can definitely provide a very stable income base. Building the system to remove myself from the minutiae of the business has been really exhilarating.
Thanks for the post!
I've gotten a lot of emails lately, which has been fantastic. My email volume keeps going up.
There's one question I've gotten a few times, in a few different forms. "How do you do so much [thing]?" Reading is a common one, since I read a lot of books. Or balancing projects with working, traveling, tourism, connecting with people.
First off, I don't think I'm so good at getting stuff done. I see there's a lot more I could do. There's probably a lot better role models than me - if you can find someone who works a stimulating high powered job, competes athletically, parents, and does some philanthropy or art, that person is way ahead of me and you ought to look them up and ask them for their thoughts next time you see them.
I used to be insanely busy like that, with 3-5 things that should be a full time effort on the go at the same time. That's probably part of the secret to it right there - if you overload yourself without getting to breaking point, you'll be amazed at what you can do.
There's ripple effects when you're extremely busy. You stop screwing off and wasting time, because you can't. And other people start respecting your time more, too. If your entire calendar is open, people are flaky and whimsical and ambiguous with plans. But when you say, "My only time free for the next three weeks is this Saturday, at 8AM" - guess what? People come meet you at 8AM Saturday. Now, it'd be absurd to ask someone to commute into the city to meet you at 8AM on Saturday if you weren't busy, but if you are busy, you do it because you have to. And people respect your time.
I'm doing my new years post a few days early this year. I have a post coming out on the first and I want to give this one a few days at the top.
So first, let's get to last year's goals.
#1... Failed completely. I gained a lot of insight, though. A few things here...