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On Work for work (W4W), wasting time & learning from a surprising source

Elance delegation epiphany

As you all know, I’m pretty committed to my Tim Ferriss 45$ education program (his 3 books). Gold, gold, gold, at every page – pieces of incredible wisdom in all chapters. I’m always excited to see or understand a new concept every time I re-read parts of his books.

In November, I was really pissed at myself because I fell back into my previous years habits of working from morning to night on stuff that I genuinely hated (programming, graphic design, databases). Because of that, I promised myself to change those automatic behaviors once and for all and to commit to the 4 hour workweek lifestyle. So I started a new 14 days challenge with more conviction than ever, and one of the major goal was to delegate everything, EVEN my client’s work (which is really outside my comfort zone because I have the loser mentality, but don’t worry, I’m working on it).

So this week went well, and I really eased myself into my new challenge, starting with delegating small tasks (like downloading from Youtube all 300 videos from Real Social Dynamics channels and converting them to MP3 so I can listen to them when i walk, train, etc (it’s the only way I find time to hear the content, since i can’t concentrate with that if i work)), and finding small problems in PHP code for me (that one was such a great idea, as i hate to code, and searching web forums for solutions is tedious).

But that’s when I had my epiphany.

As I was delegating a new task today, I realized that it made no sense to even bother writing down that job proposal on Elance let alone to pay someone to do it…. It was just not worth it: not the money, not the time. And it’s so strange, because I tried applying the 80-20 rule to all my tasks, eliminating useless tasks, only focusing on what’s important, etc. but I knew I was not doing right because I was still overwhelmed by my work.

At that point, my eyes became wide opened as I stared at my computer screen because I knew that it finally clicked in my head: the best way to know if a task is worth doing is when you have to take the time to delegate it and then PAY someone to do it. It’s incredible how everything becomes clear and simple that way: “wow, this task is not really important, why the hell did I want to do it in the first place?”

It seems that when it’s only your time that you’re wasting, it’s OK. It’s especially true when you’re used to giving away your time or wasting it non-stop like me. But if you have to PAY someone to do that wasteful, useless tasks, THEN it’s where you have that “Wait a minute…” moment. And getting that epiphany and new tool to use is something I’m immensely grateful for.

I LOVE LEARNING! I was so happy of having that brain wave and realizing why I was so wrong that I started jumping and dancing in my living room! This is a major epiphany and will probably go down as a key turning point toward full 4-hour work week lifestyle. Exciting.

So how can you apply this? Here’s how:

Don’t do ANYMORE WORK. Using www.elance.com or other web services and virtual assistants (VA) programs, delegate EVERYTHING about work that is not planning, thinking, problem solving, etc. Anything that doesn’t use your brain. And I really mean everything (you can even extend that personal stuff such as home cleaning, lunch making, grocery shopping, etc).

The key take away is that if you realize that you’re NOT WILLING TO PAY 10$, 20$ OR 100$ OR 500$ TO DELEGATE A TASK, IT MEANS THAT TASKS IS PROCRASTINATION, A WASTE OF YOUR TIME. It’s that simple. It means that the task:

  • doesn’t create value for you or someone else
  • isn’t high value enough (not important, procrastinating
  • isn’t even necessary: the client didn’t ask for it, in other words, you’re creating work because you’re perfectionist and/or have been doing that so much that it has become an habit.

So at that point, you should cancel the task, try to understand why and where it came from and how to avoid doing the same thing in the future. The amazing part is that not only will you save a TON of time by actually delegating tasks but you will also remove the time waster. What a find in such a surprising place!

Did that ever happen to you too? Have a juicy story?

Joel Alain is on a quest to the 4 Hour Workweek Lifestyle, Accelerated Growth & Meta Learning. He rejects status quo and the so called "common sense" and creates his own vision of reality. The goal being to live the life you've imagined, no matter how crazy that is. Hop in.
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