I don’t know where I should be spending my time



The Context

The most efficient and exciting way to approach our goals is incidentally, not intentionally. We just have to identify the primary task that, when executed consistently, accomplishes everything in its path as a matter of course. The hart part is figuring out which of our activities will facilitate all the others. In fact, sometimes it takes years of trial and error before we finally pin down what our highest leverage work is. Schultz, the beloved and iconic cartoonist, never intended to grow a billion dollar animation empire including books, movies, albums and merchandise. He simply drew one good comic strip a day. Everything else flowed from there. The rest of his creative goals were accomplished incidentally, as direct dividends from that baseline commitment. Which is precisely what made his journey so exciting. He never knew where those strips were going to take him.

The Tool

two color


CATCHALL— The single high leverage creative activity that facilitates all the others

Ferriss, the award winning author and podcaster, has a version of this question that resonates with me. Which thing will be the lead domino that, when you do it, will help knock down all the others in less time, or better yet, make the other domino's irrelevant? This epitomizes the time saving and labor multiplying magic of leverage. You find the first action that knocks down dozens or even thousands of different dominoes that are downstream, so you never have to repeat that process again. Do the work once, benefit many times. Think of it like a catchall. The single activity that can be trusted to take care of everything else.

Scott's Take

Scott's Take

My first mentor used to stress this concept every time we met for coffee. Highly valuable activities, he would call them. Focus on executing five of those per day, every day, and your business will grow, he promised. But my mistake in the early years of my entrepreneurial journey was assuming that schmoozing at networking events would be the thing. That’s the single activity that will facilitate all of the others. And it wasn’t. Making things was. Putting my name on things was. Creating value at scale was. Instead of playing dress up, eating rubber chicken and pretending to care about other people’s businesses, a more prudent use of my time was writing and submitting articles to my local business journal until they finally gave me a monthly column. Which did happen a few years later. And looking back, all the conferences in the world didn’t have the positioning power and leverage potential that byline equity afforded me. Writing truly was the basis of all wealth.

The Rest

The catchall is the central lever that galvanizes the whole machine. Intentionally find out what that is for you, and incidentally your goals will be reached. How much of your time is spent on highly valuable activities?

The Benefits

Structure your creative schedule in the most profitable way
Earn direct dividends from your baseline commitment downstream
Save time and multiply labor so your work is sustainable over the long term
Reduce the need for unnecessary goal setting and monitoring

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