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4 questions to help you stop wasting time

Are you chasing perfection? How often are you wasting time in the process of making things perfect?

Usually, we are wasting time because we want things to be perfect and it happens because, in most cases, achieving perfection (which is always subjective) will eat more resources than needed.

For example, if you want to create a video presentation of yourself, you will reach that point where you will be satisfied with the results but you will still see a few things you can improve. In that moment, you have to ask yourself a few questions:

  • How much time will be needed to make those improvements?
  • Will that time be better invested in another direction?
  • How many extra results will those improvements bring to the table?
  • Will those improvements help you or others?

In short, is it worth chasing perfection?

It may be worth but it depends on how you answer the above 4 questions. Let’s take them one by one.

  • How much time will be needed to stop wasting time?
  • Will that time be better invested in another direction?
  • How many extra results will those improvements bring to the table?
  • Will those improvements help you or others?

1) How much time will be needed to stop wasting time?

When it comes to the time you invest, there are three important aspects you should be aware of.

First: the 80/20 rule

80% of your results are generated by 20% of your effort. This means that if you want to improve whatever you are doing and make it perfect, you have to first be able to identify the 20% of your effort that brings 80% of your results.

This brings us to the next step.

Second: identifying the relevant effort

If you are able to spot that effort that is bringing you most of your results, then you should multiply it. But how are you doing that?

Here are a few steps (in this order) that will help you with that:

  • Make a list with all your tasks regarding the project that you want to improve;
  • For each task, set the number of hours you invested and the results it generated;
  • Compare them.

This is a very simple way of being aware of your efforts but it may get tricky sometimes.

Let’s say you have two tasks:

  • Task one: 3 hours and you got 80 new subscribers to your newsletter;
  • Task two: 34 hours and you sold a product for $37.

While it looks like you’ve invested too much time to make that sell, it can help you understand the process and maybe, next time, you’ll be able to sell two products in 28 hours. Less wasting time, right?

This is where you’ll have to add two more steps to the above list:

  • Create a criterion of importance for your business related to that effort;
  • Create a criterion of priority for your business related to that effort.

Then ask yourself how important is to sell one product for $37, even if it took you 34 hours. Does improving that have priority?

Third: multiplying the effort

This is the easiest part if you are willing to open yourself to some trial and error.

The second aspect is the one where you have to make the decision of what you will be multiplying. Now, you have to find ways of multiplying that while looking for improvements.

As mentioned above, maybe selling a product for $37 in 34 hours is not good enough. But that is an important aspect of your project which also has a high priority.

If that’s the case, you should be multiplying that activity and trying to improve it. That will bring us to the last aspect related to how much time the improvement takes so we can have less wasted time.

Fourth: the improvement loop

As you can see, you can have a project that you want to improve and, inside that project, have another task that needs improvement.

If you have a business that sells shoes, selling a pair of shoes for $37 in 34 hours is not enough for sure. And improving the business means improving the selling process.

If you create a video presentation of yourself, you may want to improve the outro so you can generate leads with it. Improving the presentations means improving the outro.

Eventually, you’ll have to decide where you should stop. After all, you can invest as much time as you want in improving your project. But how much time is worth investing in?

2) Will that time be better invested in another direction?

I mentioned the criteria of importance and priority in the first question.

These two alone should be enough for you to decide if what you want to improve is worth the effort compared to other things that you may want to do.

And because I didn’t provide you a way of doing this, here’s a table with an example that will help you do exactly that.

Activity’s nameImportance (level)Importance argumentPriority (level)Priority argument
Social media campaign9I need the campaign for launching my next course.2This feels more important than the newsletter because through social media I can reach new people as well.
Write newsletter9Letting subscribers know about the course is an important part of selling the course.3Writing the newsletter is crucial but is not as important as the two other tasks.
Contact leads10Asking people to help me with launching the course could bring more sales.1This is the most important thing. The more people I contact and the more help I get, the better the course will be marketed.

As you can see, you need to work with five different types of information:

  • Activity’s name;
  • A level of importance;
  • An argument for that importance;
  • A level of priority;
  • An argument for that priority.

While your activities can have the same importance, they can’t have the same priority. Simply because you can’t do two things at the same time.

Fun Fact: 0 Times More Resilient

Did you know that optimists are 9 times more likely to bounce back from adversity?

3) How many extra results will those improvements bring to the table?

Do you think you can generate one more sale if you invest an extra hour?

Do you think you can generate 5 more leads if you invest 3 more hours into your presentation?

More importantly, is it worth it?

Asking yourself questions like these is vital if you want to have clarity on the impact of your improvements. I can’t tell you how much your improvements will help you. It all comes down to how fast you’re working, how smart you’re working, what your strategy is and so on.

There are so many vital aspects when it comes to the result of your improvements that only you can predict the improvements will be worth making.

If you think the improvements aren’t worth, just keep things the way they are and move on to the last important question.

4) Will those improvements help you or others?

I believe this is the most important question you should ask yourself if you are chasing perfection. After all, whatever you are doing should be made so anyone can benefit from them.

With that being said, take a good look at what you are doing and realize if the improvements you want to make will help others too.

For example, if you want to improve your business and make more money, you can create an online course that you can give for free to those who have already bought from you something.

While that is a general approach to improving your business, it can make both you and your business thrive, with an overall result of less wasting time.

With love and optimism,

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