July 21, 2011

What you take out is most important

When I remove entire blocks of prose after reading something that I have drafted, I find the point I am trying to make is better articulated. When designing new functionality for a web application, I find the best solutions are those where all but the most necessary features are removed.

The practice of trimming back to only what is essential is vastly important for getting remarkable work done.

If you truly want to create a major work, it is going to cost you something. It may mean getting up an hour earlier or an hour later, but focusing on you mission for an hour a day will pay dividends in the long run.

However, if you are already getting up an hour early and staying up an hour late, and still find you need more time, there is a different issue that must be dealt with.

You simply have too much going on. Look at where you are spending your time, and then trim back all but the essential. Chances are, as you start reviewing where you time is spent, you will find there are a lot of activities that are simply wasting time.

If you are going to get up an hour early every day with the goal to publish a book by the end of the year, then spend an hour writing, not reading blogs and checking email. If you want to run a 5k in less than 20 minutes, then spend an hour every day training and working toward the goal.

There is nothing impressive about someone that gets up early and goes to bed late and still can't get important work done. If you are trying to wear the fact that you rise early and stay up late as a badge of honor, claiming that you have more work to do than you have time for, but still aren't shipping anything, the truth is you are simply a poor manager of time.

Being busy is not synonymous with being productive, and a little bit of thought, planning, and focusing on the essential will lead to success.

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