When light bulbs were first invented, it would be better to call them heat bulbs. 99% of their energy was lost as heat.
Don't waste 99% of your energy simulating progress. Make every iteration meaningful.
Here are 7 ways to improve the quality of your output:
Moving fast doesn't mean rushing.
Working hard doesn't mean grinding.
Thinking big doesn't mean creating a burden of unrealistic expectations, and burning yourself out prematurely.
Isolate the hard part.
The secret to juggling isn't perfectly balancing 3 balls. It's also not about catching them. It's learning to throw one ball in such a predictable arc you can catch it without thinking.
Make the outcome of your hardest task automatic.
Build feedback loops
You need 3 types of feedback loops: short-term, intermediate, and long-term.
Short-term feedback is immediate, actionable, and specific. It's the difference between a coach yelling "That was terrible!" and "Use your non-dominant hand."
Short term, find a leading metric: a repeatable action that gives a clear result.
Intermediate feedback is a check-in at regular intervals, looking at progress over time. Find a lagging metric - an outcome your regular inputs should feed.
Long-term feedback is the big-picture view, and it's often ignored in favor of short-termism. Ask this:
Are your short-term inputs leading to intermediate-term outputs? If so, great! But are those outputs creating the desired outcomes? Refine your assumptions.
Create a structure for constancy and change
You can't change everything at once. You need to separate the things that are constant (your principles) from those that are variable (your practices).
Constant: your values, your WHY. Variable: your method, your HOW.
Automate the easy stuff
You should never have to do the same task twice. Automate it, or delegate it. This includes the little things (set a recurring meeting) and the big things (create a system for tracking progress on your goals).
Batch deep work
Shallow work is easy and interruptible. It's the stuff you can do while distracted. Deep work is hard and requires focus.
Set aside specific times to power through hard tasks without interruption. This may be 2 hours every morning, or 4 hours every Wednesday.
Find your pace
The key to sustaining deep work over a long period of time is to find a pace that you can sustain indefinitely.
Ebb and flow. Work in sprints and recover in between.
If you burn your wick too low, you ruin the candle. Grinding has low marginal returns.
You need to say no to good things, so you can say yes to great things.
Set personal boundaries (e.g. I only work X hours a day) and professional boundaries (e.g. I only work with clients who are a good fit).
The quality of your output doesn't have to suffer because you're not grinding 24/7. Follow these 7 steps to produce high-quality work without wasted effort.
That's a wrap!