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Most of my friends are entrepreneurs or want to be. They wear “busy” like a badge of honor, and talk with pride about how little sleep they get, how much coffee they drink and how many days a week they work.
They work hard and play hard, partying through the weekend — only to do it all again the next week.
Hustle is a gear. Hustle will get you off the line and moving. It will even help you accelerate and get momentum. But what happens when you continue to accelerate in second gear? How far would you get redlining the engine over time?
Entrepreneurship is not a sprint. There is no finish line because there are always problems to solve and people to help.
When I had my WRX, I used to really get moving and get some capacity when I hit third gear. I could cruise in third gear, as well as go slow or fast. It had versatility and range. That’s the turning point where flow takes hold.
You can get enough momentum to shift into fourth and fifth, where you don’t even have to push the pedal going faster — you just think it, and all of a sudden you’re speeding!
So how do we get to an entrepreneurial state of flow?
1. Do great things
This is our motto at The Greatness Foundation, where we build schools and houses for those in need among other projects around the world. But it’s also applicable here: Are the things you do actually moving the ball forward to get the results you want? Are they high priority, high impact and high leverage?
If not, they go on the chopping block.
2. Do fewer things
Ask yourself this question often, borrowed from the great Tim Ferriss: What are the things, that if done, would make the rest of my to-do list easier or irrelevant? Or another one: How would this look if it was easy and fun?
3: Do the Deal
Another Timism. Actually, it’s EADL:
- E: Eliminate waste, and things that are not high impact. If they can’t be eliminated…
- A: Automate them as best you can. Inefficiency and waste multiplied by automation is just more inefficiency and waste. Carve the angel out of the block of marble. Only what is beautiful, simple and effective should remain.
- D: Delegate what cannot be automated or eliminated to an actual human, with a workflow, a video and a checklist.
- L: Liberate yourself from the process, so you can level up and focus on bigger and better.
Get rid of it if it ain’t helping, automate it if it can be, if not, get it right, train it right then get it off your plate.
4. Do things yourself first
To understand how things are best done, do it yourself so you can create a process and checklist around it.
Constantly train your team to think in terms of simplicity and process, document the easy steps in a singular format, and make it available to the team. This will save countless hours when it comes time to hire and train.
We have the “always open” rule, which means we have a workflow and a checklist for everything. The rule is whether you’ve done something 100 times or once, you always have the checklist open so nothing gets dropped. When something breaks down, we always ask what went wrong with the checklist. Videos are also helpful for certain tasks that are difficult or clunky to explain.
That’s also why McDonald’s is a billion-dollar corporation that can be run by teenagers. Everything is step-by-step, paint by numbers. If you can read, you can follow the steps and you can win.
5. Stop doing things
Having a not-to-do list is way more important than having a to-do list. In fact, the to-do list should be a get-to-do list. Only the things that are your genius, the highest leverage and impact, should be done by you.
If you are not currently making enough money, it’s usually a symptom of doing too much, too much complexity, instead of too little.
What are the highest leverage assets you have at your disposal? Hint: It’s never time, energy and attention. It’s money and systems. Stop doing dumb stuff that makes you burn out. Stop wearing busy as a badge of honor and stop taking what you do so seriously.
Learn to think in terms of systems, scale and sustainability, so you don’t blow the weaker fuses in your meat machine.