The Effort List

October 08, 2008

Posted in Personal.

This is an excerpt from Seth Godin’s post, Is Effort a Myth?. I’m thinking about this a lot – that parts I already do and the parts I don’t.

With that forewarning, here’s a bootstrapper’s/marketer’s/entrepreneur’s/fast-rising executive’s effort diet. Go through the list and decide whether or not it’s worth it. Or make up your own diet. Effort is a choice, at least make it on purpose:

1. Delete 120 minutes a day of ‘spare time’ from your life. This can include TV, reading the newspaper, commuting, wasting time in social networks and meetings. Up to you.

2. Spend the 120 minutes doing this instead:

  • Exercise for thirty minutes.

  • Read relevant non-fiction (trade magazines, journals, business books, blogs, etc.)

  • Send three thank you notes.

  • Learn new digital techniques (spreadsheet macros, Firefox shortcuts, productivity tools, graphic design, html coding)

  • Volunteer.

  • Blog for five minutes about something you learned.

  • Give a speech once a month about something you don’t currently know a lot about.

3. Spend at least one weekend day doing absolutely nothing but being with people you love.

4. Only spend money, for one year, on things you absolutely need to get by. Save the rest, relentlessly.

If you somehow pulled this off, then six months from now, you would be the fittest, best rested, most intelligent, best funded and motivated person in your office or your field. You would know how to do things other people don’t, you’d have a wider network and you’d be more focused.

This is great advice, but I’m less interested in the “six months from now” part and way more interested in the “effort” list. Those are things I enjoy and want to do more of. I want to spend that weekend day, blog, read, exercise, etc. If nothing else changed but I got to do more of those things, I think I would be happier.