This article was originally published in the LearnThenApply newsletter.
I don’t have time to work on side projects.
All my time is being taken up by full-time work, contract work, and voluntary work.
If I keep going like this, I’ll never launch anything and/or burn myself out.
📄 Personal Leverage: How to Truly 10x Your Productivity by Nat Eliason
Nat was promoting this piece just as I was searching for articles on how to create processes.
The article says you can free up time by using the “Personal Leverage Loop”: Define, Refine, Automate, Delegate.
Basically, the loop is:
- Write out all the things you do — the steps and procedures
- Identify waste or opportunities for improvement and optimize
- Find tools or systems that will make you faster or take things off your plate
- Pass off responsibilities to people who will give it better care
The two things taking up the majority of my time and mental load, outside of work, are Founder’s Journal and The Ladder (two projects where I’m managing social media).
I realized the only way I will have time to work on my passion projects is if I get faster or outsource my tasks.
I started creating Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) — step-by-step breakdowns of how and when to do all the tasks.
- ensures I don’t forget anything.
- keeps me from wondering what I should do next.
- makes it possible to eventually pass off some responsibilities.
I have to be honest… this process sucks.
I’m wired to just DO. Making processes and systems does not come naturally.
But I know this work is going to free up hours of time. It’s an investment in myself 🤑.
Once I create the SOPs, I need to stress-test and make sure they work. I will likely find areas for improvement and refinement.
I’ve already tried to find areas where technology can speed me up.
I bought Descript to transcribe the audio. It makes it easier for me to glean major takeaways from each episode (and come back to it later).
I also added folders in my bookmarks tab so I can quickly open up all the pages I will need at each step of the process.
This will be the final and most challenging aspect.
Nat highlights the importance of delegating to the right person.
Someone who will continue to improve the process instead of just checking boxes and moving on.
I spoke with Jakob and we discussed two common objections that come up when people think about delegating:
- The tasks don’t really take that long. Is it worth paying someone to do a task that takes you 10 minutes?
- You’ll spend too much time reviewing their work. It’s hard to find someone who will publish with the same quality or in the same voice.
These are fair objections.
For #1, you need to consider the opportunity cost of that “little time”. Would delegating allow you to do more important things?
Would delegating a task that takes 10 minutes a day enable you to spend a bit more time with your family, or read a book, or fit a workout in?
Make time for your priorities by buying your time back.
For #2, it wouldn’t be an overnight hand-off. Over time you can train someone to start thinking as you do. You might find that since they’re solely focused on that task, they end up improving it in ways that you couldn’t because of limited time.
My biggest takeaway?
I can’t just depend on myself if I’m going to accomplish all the things I say I will.
I need the help of systems and processes.
Luckily someone has written the manual on where to start. 😁