To climb to the next level you’re going to need help, not just hard work
When it comes to productivity, you have a good idea how much you want to get done: Maybe it’s the next level of your career, or it’s starting a side project or new business, or maybe it’s getting that 6-pack you’ve been working on for a while now. It’s just a matter of getting there.
So how do we get to that level of productivity? If you believe in #grindneverstops, it’s simply a matter of hard work. In order to get fit, you have to hit the gym every day. In order to publish a book, you have to write until your fingers fall off.
While it’s true you have to work to achieve your goals, we often overvalue individual hard work and undervalue getting the help of others.
Working harder hits a roadblock.
If you’re already working full time, working longer hours won’t help and may actually be counterproductive. Working more than 40+ hours a week can lead to stress, sleep deprivation, poor health and diet, and other issues that will set you back.
If you’re overworked, you’re probably also fooling yourself on how productive you really are. People who are sleep deprived “spend nearly three times as much of their day on just time management alone.” And at the end of the day, isn’t it more important what gets done, instead of how many hours were spent in the process?
We believe you’ll get more done when you work 30 hours a week focused, happy, and productive, than 60 hours a week stressed, distracted, and exhausted.
You’re probably not getting enough help.
The myth of “self-made success” needs to die.
Rather than doing everything themselves, the world’s most successful people get the most help. Best-selling books are written by ghostwriters. The fittest people on your Instagram feed have nutritionists and personal trainers. The most successful entrepreneurs spend their time recruiting the best people. The most productive individuals don’t do it all by themselves.
Getting help from others isn’t cheating and it isn’t a “shortcut.” It is the path forward to achieving your goals. It’s also not easy. It takes courage to ask for help and talented to build and motivate a team behind what you want to accomplish.
I’ve never found anybody who didn’t want to help me when I’ve asked them for help. […] Most people never pick up the phone and call, most people never ask. And that’s what separates, sometimes, the people that do things from the people that just dream about them.– Steve Jobs
Write down everything you want to accomplish.
First, get clear about the big picture. It’s a fun exercise to write down everything you want to accomplish, get yourself excited to hit those productivity goals. Make sure you’re thinking medium and long term.
We recommend a 6-month perspective for medium term goals, such as changing your diet, and 5 year perspective for large goals, such as building a lasting company.
For each goal, ask yourself: “am I willing to invest a significant portion of my time and money to make this happen?” If the answer is no, take it off the list.
Start thinking about who can help.
Now with a list of everything important you want to accomplish, try thinking about how you can get help.
Create a partnership: Just as Paul Simon partnered with Art Garfunkel, you can partner with a friend or coworker on a project, if you two share a mutual goal.
Hire: The easiest way to get something done is to hire someone to do it. It just costs money. The good news is, spending money to save time is one of the best ways you can decide to spend it. Plus, if you’re hiring to improve your business and finances, it can even bring you ROI.
Ask for a favor: You’d be surprised by how productivity escalates simply when you ask help from others. People want to help, especially if it’s in their area of expertise, as a way of giving back.