“I just would’ve done everything sooner.”

In productivity, stories by Jay Clouse

I was walking back to the van with my coach and mentor, Chris, after our trail run.

He said, “You know, I think you’re doing all the right things. If I thought you were off base or going in the wrong direction I’d tell you so, but it seems like you’re doing things the right way.”

That meant a lot coming from him – I look up to the work he does and the way he leads his own life.

Then he continued, “I wouldn’t do anything differently┬áin my career so far if I could go back. I just would’ve done everything sooner.”

I understood what he was saying. Over the last couple weeks, I’ve hosted my first (and second and third) video workshops using a software that was new to me. One of them was an Unreal Collective Member Spotlight, an idea I’ve been excited about for a while, and two of them were my own content and ideas.

My natural inclination was to punt the dates of those workshops out several weeks to give myself time to “properly prepare” and “promote” them. But instead, I set an aggressive deadline of the following week, created the presentations, and had two great workshops.

Nothing revolutionary here – this is a classic combination of Parkinson’s Law* and the Pareto Principle.** I executed on the time I gave myself to complete the task, and I got 80% of the possible outcome utilizing 20% of the effort.

Because of that, I increased my speed of insight. The things I learned from my own workshops I was able to apply to make the Unreal Collective Member Spotlight workshop better.

I’m striving to apply this same rigor to all of my work. The inclination we have to put things off focuses our time and energy on the 80% of effort that only yields 20% of the results. And in most cases, for me, that’s not worth the tradeoff of slowing my speed of insight.

*Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion
**(Also known as the 80/20 rule, the law of the vital few, or the principle of factor sparsity) states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.

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