Jan 21 , 2015
In this blog post I’m going to share a simple, but rarely implemented strategy to get re-inspired, boost your motivation, and help you get more done while enjoying the process.
Recently, I took 3 straight weeks off to just evaluate, think, and strategize. That’s right, I didn’t work, answer my phone, or even worry about what wasn’t getting done. And I have to say, it was the best thing I’ve done for myself and business in a long, long, time.
As a result, I have a new motivation for what I’m doing. I’ve gotten more done in the last 2 weeks than I have in the previous 2 months, and I’m inspired to wake up and work hard each and every day. Even the mundane and boring tasks don’t bother me anymore, because I know exactly why I’m doing them.
Sure, I took a financial hit at a time that was less than ideal, but I have no doubt that this small short-term investment will have long term dividends of far greater magnitude.
Since, I was even able to complete The Handyman Pricing Guide I’ve been working on for the last year and get it ready for a February 4th launch date. Keep a look out for that!
Now, you may be thinking “Damn, 3 weeks! That’s ridiculous!” And I totally agree. Spending 3 weeks not generating any income and failing to use that time for vacation seems like a huge waste of time. But, that depends on your situation.
Here’s the thing. If you don’t know exactly what you are trying to achieve in life or in business, the single most important thing you can possibly do is figure that out. That’s what I was doing.
You see, I’ve been trying to grow two businesses simultaneously for the last 3 years (This blog and my handyman business). I’ve known for a long time that trying to do both is not only unsustainable, but relatively unproductive. Doing great work that helps people is important to me, and I feel like I’m unable to do that when I’m spread so thin.
So, I came to a crossroads and realized that I had to step off the hamster wheel and figure shit out. That’s exactly what I did and I’m absolutely stoked on the results, so I wanted to share the strategy with you to help you get re-inspired and have the best year ever.
The Fine Line Between Thinking And Doing
There is a fine line between thinking and taking action. Think too much and you’ll never have time to execute on your brilliant ideas. This is known as “Analysis Paralysis.”
For example, if you’ve clearly decided the handyman business is right for you and you’ve researched the best practices for getting started, continuing to analyze is a gigantic waste of your time. At a certain point the value of further analysis is negligible and action is the only thing that will bring further clarity.
…It’s far less effective (and enjoyable) to act if you don’t have a clear end goal in mind. And I’m talking crystal clear. If you’re trying to win a race but don’t know where the finish line is, which is more important: To just start running or to figure out where the finish line is?
It’s very difficult to achieve success if you don’t know what success even looks like.
The most effective and successful people know when to think and when to act. For example, did you know that Bill Gates takes an entire week off twice a year just to think? He calls it a “think week” and he’s been doing it for years. Even during Microsoft’s biggest growth periods where his time and attention where paramount, he still made time to completely get away to research, plan, and strategize. Bill Gates is clearly a man of action, yet he also understands the importance of stepping back and asking the bigger questions. If this didn’t bring tremendous benefit to him, do you think he’d continue to spend 2 weeks a year completely by himself for the last 20 years? I doubt it.
Spending Time Thinking Actually Creates More Time
It may seem like taking an entire week, or in my case 3 weeks, is a waste of time. However, in the long run it actually creates more time. At least more productive, effective, get shit done kind of time.
By taking a step back to gain perspective on your efforts and intentions from the ten thousand foot level, you’re able to make big decisions more powerfully. You’re able to achieve a higher level of clarity on what’s important and what’s not, what you should expend your efforts on and what you should eliminate.
Here’s where you gain the time back. That clarity of what’s most meaningful and important helps make thousands of future decisions for you. You no longer have to spend your time and limited cognitive fuel each day focusing on the inconsequential and unimportant. This saves you from decision fatigue and frees you up to act.
The ability to make decisions faster can save hundreds of hours and even reduce your stress significantly.
Aside from saving you the time of making decisions, a higher level of clarity gives you the ability to make better decisions that can lead you where you are going much faster and with less effort.
A Simple Strategy For 10Xing Your Effectiveness
If I’ve got your attention, I assume you have two questions bouncing around in your head. How long do I need to think, and what do I need to think about?
The length of time doesn’t matter that much, although I would shoot for a week uninterrupted at a minimum. For me, I needed three weeks. It really depends on the depth of what you are trying to figure out.
What’s more important is the questions that you ask yourself during this time. I went through a really involved process of reading several books, taking strength analysis tests, and researching my options. I went nuts. But here are the two questions I was essentially trying to answer.
What do I really want to achieve or do?
What is the most effective way to achieve said answer?
Now, it may seem very easy to answer these questions on the surface level. But what’s really important is to be extremely detailed and specific with your answers. I can’t stress this enough. That’s the part that takes time. Your goal is to be really inspired and excited about what you come up with and this is only possible if it’s specific.
Most people have a general idea of what they want (I did). They want more money, a more fulfilling job, to lose some weight, more free time with their family, etc. But, they don’t have these goals clearly defined. A good way to know if you’re specific enough is to explain it to somebody else and see if they can clearly understand and picture it.
To 10x your motivation and get truly inspired your answers should be so vivid you can taste them. And, they also need to be worth tasting.
Also, at least for me, I had to do enough research and thinking to get down to what was truly essential. I had to know that in 6 months I wasn’t going to change my mind and want something else. Again, the time was worth it and I’ll say it again.
If you don’t know exactly what you are trying to achieve in life or in business, the single most important thing you can possibly do is figure that out.
With that said, if you’re in the middle of taking action on a plan you’ve created, keep going! Don’t let this or anything else impede your progress! But, if you’re stuck in a cycle that isn’t bringing you the results you want and you’re ready to get to the next level, a “think week” might be just what you need.