Not all effort is equal. Some activities you’ll engage in will create a massive impact with little work on your part. Other activities will require massive investments to achieve little.

As a simple example, when we start a new project we create a project brief that addresses a wide variety of needs. It’s a simple template that takes a holistic view of the work and takes around thirty minutes to complete. But it increases the efficiency of the entire project by getting everyone on the same page for delegating while preventing downstream mistakes. Compare this to the effort involved in micro managing tasks and directing effort.

While I was in Costa Rica the past couple of weeks, I considered alternate mechanisms to getting things done rather than sweat.

Here’s a short list:

  • Employing unique strengths. Limiting work to what has exceptional returns.
  • Using time. Giving things the space to resolve or grow on their own like a farmer and their crops.
  • Using timing. Applying less effort by waiting for the right moment.
  • Harvesting the momentum of things already in motion. Trends, shifts, bigger entities making moves.
  • Creating leverage. Lots of ways to do this, but an example would be by deliberately expanding capacity. E.g. use a vegetable peeler rather than a knife to peel a vegetable.

As it pertains to growth, your resources are finite. You only have so much time, cash, and labor power on your team.

When you deliberately employ options with asymmetric effort to outcome ratios you give yourself more opportunities at bat, increasing the chances that you’ll get a hit.

It’s the beginning of 2023 and you’re probably thinking about your goals and how to achieve them. Take one of them and consider the short list above. How would you apply one of these mechanisms rather than just doing lots of work?

Featured image is a 1935 photo of a Judo throw at an exhibition. By Anonymous – Used unaltered under CC BY 4.0,