How often do we get sparks of inspiration, but then let it slip into the ether? Inspiration is perishable. You either use it or lose it.
After struggling with acting in New York, Sylvester Stallone moved to California to try a shot at Hollywood. Things did not go much better there. He had to sell his dogs because he could not feed them. But then, one night, he went to see Muhammad Ali fight Chuck Wepner.
“What I saw was pretty extraordinary. I saw a man called 'The Bayonne Bleeder' fight the greatest fighter who ever lived. And for one brief moment, this supposed stumblebum turned out to be magnificent. And he lasted and knocked the champ down. I thought if this isn’t a metaphor for life.” (5)
From here, cue the legendary story of Stallone writing Rocky, a 90 page script, in three days! The part that often gets left out is only a third of it was used in the movie.
Had Stallone waited to perfect the script over months, perhaps Rocky might have never seen the light of day. We’ll never know. But the story and spirit of Rocky was good enough to get made because Stallone seized an intense 3-days of writing. Sometimes, editing and re-editing will be the best option, but often, waiting for perfect just serves as procrastination to not ship anything.
While perhaps you do not produce the outcomes like Seth or Stallone, how good would it feel if you finished something you’ve been putting off this week?
TWICE THE RESULTS, 1/8TH THE TIME WITH TIM FERRISS
Before the 200 million+ downloaded podcast, 4 Hour book series, and legend that is Tim Ferriss, he worked a data storage sales job in which he had to make cold calls. It marked the beginning of his endless effort to challenge the productivity status quo.
“I realized that most cold calls didn't get to the intended person for one reason; gatekeepers. If I simply made all my calls from 8:00-8:30 A.M. and 6:00-6:30 P.M., for a total of one hour, I was able to avoid secretaries and book more than twice as many meetings as the senior sales executives who called from 9-5. In other words, I got twice the results for 1/8th the time.” (6)
While 1-hour sales windows may not apply to your job, surely there is a block of time that produces disproportionate results. Ask any Instagram based entrepreneur. Timing is everything.
If you look at the daily rituals of some of the most notable people in history from Benjamin Franklin to Charles Darwin to Pablo Picasso, most did their work either early in the morning or late at night.
Where are the time-windows in your day that produces disproportionate results?
10 HOURS A WEEK WITH DAVID HEINEMEIER HANSSON
While all the above examples represented condensed periods of time, what about something a bit more sustainable on a ongoing basis?
David Hannemier Hanson is a partner in software management company Basecamp, created the programming language Ruby on Rails framework, a race car driver, and author of multiple books. While many entrepreneurial advice recommend basically selling your first born and cranking 100 hour work weeks, David helped build Basecamp slowly, while attending college:
But how do you know what to do with those 10 hours? David recommends going all in on one thing: