This would be easily among the top 15 pieces of advice that changed my life. I heard this first on Tim Ferris’s podcast where Jim Collins shared that this was the most important lesson he learned during his meeting with management guru Peter Drucker, ” Dont make a hundred decisions when one would do”. (This is a fab episode one that should not be missed)
When you run a bootstrapped business you have to juggle multiple hats, and you dont have the luxury of a great team (inception stage) to share your workload of making those important decisions, In such a scenario applying the above technique helped me tremendously to save time and make better decisions. Sharing a business and personal application of this technique to showcase how this really benefitted me and I hope others too can benefit tremendously by using this mental model in their own personal and professional life
Business Application: Deciding which business to take on: Early on a big challenge for us was to decide which client business to pitch for and since we had limited bandwidth – taking on the wrong projects/clients would be a huge opportunity cost. Those days each opportunity was evaluated individually and the team would seek my advice all the time, this used to consume a lot of time. We then used the above technique and began to validate every new lead against a standard formula we developed (taking into consideration Client Reputation, Project Value, profitability %, and project potential). Any business which crossed the threshold we defined, would be taken up. This was communicated to the team and this way each team member knew which business he/she could take up and which had to be dropped without them having to come back to us for validation. It was not perfect because we saved 80% time due to this.
In my personal life, I have used this advice by formulating a rule not to engage in any conversations on social media esp WhatsApp groups however interesting they may be if they are not connected to either 1) Learning 2) Helping 3) Earning Money. This one decision eliminates the need for me to think about when to participate and when not to. You will be amazed that yesterday when I actually felt like participating in a very interesting political debate on our WhatsApp group, this mental model came into force and actually stopped me from hitting send button (and that’s how I realized subconsciously the process is ingrained and then I got down to write this post). This saves a lot of my time and now it’s second nature to me.
By making fewer decisions, you conserve your limited energy, which can be used for another important task. I strongly feel it makes one super productive since this technique eliminates those tiny distractions in a big way.
Would love to hear your thoughts