Are you trying to do too many things at once right now?
Many entrepreneurs tell me they are feeling stressed, overwhelmed, and harried in their day-to-day lives. One of the first things I usually ask them is “Are you doing too much?” The reason I ask this is because I know how it feels to have your concentration fragmented and how difficult it is to stay on top of multiple initiatives at the same time.
To really be the best at your craft, you have to be an inch wide and a mile deep.
You need to focus as much mental energy as you can on one thing. In the book Deep Work Cal Newport talks about why specialists are so highly valued and explains how true craftsmanship is a rarified skill that can benefit you immensely. If you put the deep work in and specialize at one thing, you can differentiate yourself from others in the field by doing that thing at a level that no one else is doing it. Once you establish yourself on that level, you’ll have more business than you can handle.
As Newport says, “One of the main obstacles to going deep is the urge to turn your attention toward something more superficial.” I see a lot of entrepreneurs struggle with this. Sometimes they don’t even know that they’re doing it. Think about this: Do you ever undertake a low-level task yourself because you want to make sure it’s done right? That’s shallow work. Constantly monitoring email and participating in multiple meetings per day are two common examples of shallow work in which too many entrepreneurs engage on a daily basis.
To free up your time to do the deep work necessary to hone your rarified skill, you need to set up a structure that allows you to delegate. Farm out as many shallow tasks as you can. If it’s a shallow task, you’re not the only one who can get it done correctly. You need to concentrate on doing the deep work and solidifying differentiators between you and your competition.
A great way to free yourself from distractions and take the shallow work off your plate is to hire a virtual assistant. I have a wonderful virtual assistant who now completes many things that I used to spend time doing myself. With her help, I’m able to place my focus on doing the deep work needed to push through my upper limit challenges. I can’t even began to tell you the value of having competent virtual assistants. We hit a homerun when we found Romely in the Philippines. If I could be perfectly honest with you she teaches us many skills that were missing before she joined our team. Between Brooke, my executive assistant and Romely my load is much lighter, they are amazing.
You might be thinking “Well that sounds great, but I have a certain way I like to do things and specific standards I need to uphold. How can I guarantee a virtual assistant will take care of these items at the same level of quality that I would myself ?” When Brooke and Romely tackle a project it is historically completed with more attention to detail than I would have given it. We all have our area of giftedness and they are deep off into all the particulars, and I’m so grateful for this.
Don’t be dissuaded by obstacles like those. Turn the obstacle into an opportunity. More often than not, the Obstacle is the Way. How do you turn the obstacle mentioned above into an opportunity? Record a video of yourself doing the task or of you explaining the process necessary to complete the task step by step. That way, the person you delegate to will know exactly how you want it done, and they have it on hand for reference in case they forget any of the steps. Also, once you’ve created the video, you can send it to anyone that you need to train on that particular task without having to spend any more time training them yourself.
You can’t do all things!
You need to put everything you can into doing a few things as well as they can possibly be done. Be an inch wide and a mile deep. Delegate the shallow tasks to other people, and apply your concentration to doing deep work. Figure out what it is that you want to do better than anyone else, and do everything you can to own it.