How to Do Less (Part Two)

Socrates revealed last week that if we measure our activities by the amount of money we make or save the business, we can prioritize any action on our to-do list using the same metric.

The natural corollary of using this metric is that if we can find a task that yields enough profit (or saves enough money) we can prioritize that task above all our others.

So, what one thing can I do such that by doing it everything else else becomes easier or unnecessary?

For me this boiled down to something important but not immediately urgent.

Execute the Lightning Experience Transition to increase sales by 10% and reduce service costs by 10%.

( This is feasible as documented in the following study: https://www.salesforce.com/blog/2019/01/forrester-study-switch-lightning-experience.html )

By way of example, let’s assume my company grosses $25 million a year in revenue. If, by successfully moving us to Lightning, we increase sales by 10% –thats $2.5 million dollars.

The standard work week is five 8-hour days. One hour of one day is 12.5% of the day. Saving 10% in service costs therefore amounts to roughly one hour of time per day.

If moving the company to Lightning increases revenue by $2.5 million dollars and saves roughly 1 hour of the service team’s time per day, will the company prefer I solve numerous problems reported by users or this singular high value problem?

From the standpoint of a business owner, I would have my employee work on the high value problem and let the smaller problems be batched for later work, especially if work arounds exist for those smaller problems.

I can’t claim any credit for thinking of that that question though. I took it directly from Gary Keller’s book “The One Thing”.

The main idea is very simple. Some tasks are worth more than others as measured by the results they produce. We should never do a lower value task when a higher value task remains undone. Therefore, what is the highest value task you can think of? Once you know the answer, simply work on that task until it’s done. Rinse and repeat.

In the words of Jeff Bezos, “You can work long, hard, or smart, but at Amazon.com you can’t choose two out of three.”

Let’s make the right choice.

We’re all constrained by a 24-hour day so it’s not practical to try and cram more into the day in a struggle to achieve more – because you ultimately hit a time barrier.

It’s much better to find the single most important items, yielding the highest returns over the longest time span, and then relentlessly focus on executing them.

To be clear this approach isn’t about laziness. We’re not doing less because we don’t like working. We’re doing less so we can ultimately achieve more.

To conclude, Archimedes said it best, “Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world.”

What’s your lever?

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