Decision Hacks is a guide. It's full of fast, no-nonsense provocations - to dislodge tough decisions & get your momentum back.

WIP Yourself

Some day soon, you're going to have one of those days when you work for fourteen hours straight, and still won't feel like you accomplished anything. You know, one of those days when you can't even remember what you did, but your todo list remains untouched, accusing you silently, as you fall asleep at your computer.

It happens to all of us. It's called a WIP problem - Work In Progress.

We can learn from factories. They know that everything they make only gives them value when they sell it at the end, so to make progress, they try to make faster rather than make more.

Let's say you own a widget factory. It takes a year to make a widget. They cost you £2 each and you sell them at £6. If you start with £1 million today, you'll make 500,000 widgets and have £3 million back in a year.

Now, you can halve the cost of widgets to £1 per unit - then you'll have £4 million back in a year. Or- you can halve the production time, then you'll have £3 million back in 6 months, which you'll reinvest for another 6-month production run. Boom. £9 million back in a year!

By focusing on making less, but making it faster, you get the value back sooner, which you can reinvest, creating momentum. It's just like sticking your thumb on the end of a hose to make the water come out faster.

Back to your day. The problem is you started to do too many things, and none of them are giving you value. This is your Work In Progress problem.

You'll have to WIP Yourself. Here's how:

You'll take 3 minutes max to make a list of everything you've started, where you've invested your time, but haven't seen the value. Value can be any way you define it, not just money.

Then take another 2 minutes to write down what's the minimum time you need to get each thing done enough to give you value.

You'll pick two, only two, and ideally the two that are the fastest to complete. You'll leave the rest and just focus on those two until they're done.

And that's when you'll start getting things done, and start getting value back from the work you're doing.

You'll get your momentum back.

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