In David Olk’s latest column for Inc, he explains that “doing five things well is better than doing 10 things halfway. So step back, reevaluate, and learn to say no — you’ll yield more promising results”. Here’s how.
We’ve talked about the importance of entrepreneurs seeking advice from others. Founders are guilty of those brain-engulfing narcissistic thoughts that “I alone” know everything about my company and the best plans, policies, and products to keep it on a positive trajectory.
That’s just not smart business. We need to rely on “rabbis” to give advice and keep us in check. To show another point of view; or another way of doing things.
That’s what Greg McKeown did for me.
I’ve never met McKeown. He’s the exception to my “rabbis are my inner circle” ethos. But, his book Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less basically changed my life and outlook as a founder. Read it. Trust me.
It’s exactly what you think it is: learning how to focus on the most essential things. This book helped me learn to prioritize what really matters so you can have a life and a family. The Essentialist does less, but better, which allows him to make the highest possible contribution.
The Essentialist gets out of the weeds (sound familiar?).
The book is about reevaluating priorities, which is one of the hardest lessons to learn as an entrepreneur, when everything seems like the most important thing in the world.
Here’s what else this book taught me:
Focus on getting five things done in a day.
Our culture has brainwashed us into thinking that we have to be as busy as humanly possible. That crossing 20 things off a list is better than if we just accomplish 15 — especially if those five extra things are mediocre at best. By trying to do it all, we’re underperforming across the board.
You wind up doing a lot of things, badly.
The Essentialist focuses instead on getting only the right things done. It doesn’t matter if you only accomplish five things in one day, as long as they are the right things, in the right way, and at the right time. Heck, completing one task, and doing it well, is far better than completing seven and half-assing them.
I’m asking “Why” a lot lately before I start a new task. “Why am I doing this? Why should anyone be doing this?” That answer helps you decide what are the things that should be on your list. The best founders pull themselves out of the weeds. Things like reviewing board deck always make the cut. If yourecruit top talent then other tasks, like proofreading a company newsletter or hopping on sales call, will quickly disappear.
For two more tips, read the full article as published here.