What are your goals for 2021?
I plan to grow my YouTube audience to more than 10,000 followers, write an inspirational yet cynical book, launch an independent rap album, and triple my company's revenue, among other aspirations.
As a serial software entrepreneur, tech investor, writer, rapper, and fashion designer, I have an extremely busy schedule. Before the pandemic, I traveled internationally at least four times a year. People often ask me: "How do you manage to do all these things?! Do you sleep?"
The truth is I learned a powerful, but simple, framework from some incredibly smart tech CEOs in Silicon Valley. This framework has helped entrepreneurs build billion-dollar companies from scratch. It's taught me how to bootstrap a multimillion-dollar business. It's given me the time, energy, and resources I needed to pursue my lifelong dreams and passions.
Just 3 simple steps: Eliminate, Automate, Delegate.
This three-step framework is my secret to accomplishing everything.
It sounds corny, but trying to do less really helps you get more done.
The first step to achieving your goals is trimming your to-do list. I really struggle with this. Because my interests are so varying, it's hard for me to commit to just one thing. But I'm most successful (and least stressed) when I do no more than three major projects at once.
This is an endless battle for me, so it's OK if this feels difficult. Rest assured: You can always readjust your goals and shift priorities as needed.
Next, you need to eliminate every task that doesn't fall under those priorities.
Automation: Software is your friend, I promise
It's a great idea to try to automate repetitive tasks that are boring or time-consuming. You can also use automation to rapidly increase or scale the volume of your work.
For example, instead of manually sending 400 emails out, you can create an email template and send a "mail merge." This mail merge uses a spreadsheet with your contacts' email addresses and personal information to send a personalized message to 400 people in just a matter of seconds.
Many of the best and most successful software companies were founded by entrepreneurs who wanted to automate something that people hated or had a hard time doing.
All you have to do is think: "Can I automate this? And if so, how? ...Is there technology that can automate this for me? ...If not, how hard would it be to 'hack together' a duct-tape solution to my problem?"
Unlocking the magic of delegation
As an engineer and diehard nerd, I always try to think about automation before delegation, but this can be a mistake.
Sometimes automation is overkill. Either because it's too complicated to build a good solution, or because there are humans who can do a good enough or better job for a reasonable price.
This is often true for complex and creative work, but it can also be true of simple, repetitive tasks that could be outsourced to someone on Upwork or Golance.
Successfully delegating tasks isn't easy. It often takes additional upfront work, and you might fail with your first hiring attempts--I definitely did. However, it's highly worthwhile if you're able to free up hours from your schedule every week.
Without delegation, I would have never been able to build a million-dollar company without completely destroying my health. I never would have had time to travel all over Asia, Europe, and Africa. I would have never made a rap song or music video. I'd be a lot less happy and wealthy, and way more stressed out.
And it's so simple. You can experiment with delegation just by going on Fiverr or Upwork and hiring someone for a little project.
Do you have other questions about productivity, management, or software entrepreneurship? Drop me a line, and I'll try to answer in an upcoming article.