About 3 years ago, I stopped and looked around and realized I was trying to do way too much.
I know a lot of online people build moats around themselves so they never have to hear from their readers (“noreply” email addresses, assistants to screen messages, etc). But I always preferred to read my own emails and respond to them, even if I got insane ones like this, this, and this.
However, reading 1,000+ emails a day raises its own problems.
Back then, I was getting hundreds of emails a day from random readers, who would ask questions about investing, the best credit card, how to handle their upcoming job interview, etc.
I was raised to help people if I could, so I made it a point of pride to respond to every single email I got.
But like a sink that’s backed up, no matter how quickly I “drained” my inbox, I ended each day with more emails than I started with. I felt like Mickey in Fantasia.
By this point, I also had a small team, so every day, I would get emails, chats, and texts that went like this: “Hey Ramit, can you take a look at this?”
“Yeah, sure, what do you need?” I would say.
…UNTIL I WAS GETTING 50+ REQUESTS LIKE THAT A DAY. WTF!!
So now, I was answering emails, writing IWT emails, working on our technology, planning marketing campaigns, building multiple courses at the same time, and reading about 1,000 emails/day.
Not good. No matter how fast you type or how many cool email hacks you implement, this doesn’t scale.
In fact, when I finally decided to take a vacation, it took me one damn year to figure out how to leave and make sure IWT didn’t collapse while I was gone.
Imagine being a paper clerk who comes into work, takes a look at the 5,000 files on his desk, and glumly begins stamping papers. At the end of the day, his boss walks by with a new cart of 7,000 more files. Can you imagine that sinking feeling every day?
I was basically a glorified paper clerk pushing papers…with no end in sight.
What do you notice about stupid Ramit from a few years ago?
#1: STUPID RAMIT HAD: A lot of delusional self-importance: “The world will collapse if I’m not here to manage everything,” said Ramit who really isn’t that important (remember, this was 3 years ago. Now I’m much more mature)
#2: STUPID RAMIT HAD: A total inability to give up control and delegate. Everyone “knows” you have to focus on the Big Wins…until you actually try to do it
#3: STUPID RAMIT HAD: A serious problem focusing on pointless minutiae. ‘Oh, let me spend 3 hours on this paragraph that will have no meaningful impact on my life or anyone else’s. It’s so important…don’t you understand!!’
Worst of all, if I looked at my calendar, I spent maybe 30 minutes a day working on really important stuff. 30 MINUTES!
I had to figure out a better way of tackling work and life.
So I decided to start testing out different approaches. I may not have been good at balance, but I also knew I wasn’t a special snowflake, and if others had figured it out, I was sure I could, too. I hired advisors, I read tons of books, and I started experimenting.
- I took the ~60 hours of low-level tasks I used to do…and eliminated 45 hours of them a week
- I replaced that time with much more valuable work that I loved
- My revenue doubled…multiple times
Best of all, I got to “own” my personal time again. For example, last week I worked until 4pm, then went to the gym, and after that met friends to see the Louis C.K. show at Madison Square Garden.
Now, POP QUIZ:
Put yourself in my shoes.
What did I change that let me eliminate the low-level tasks and focus on high-value items?
And what does this have to do with MORE?
Leave a comment below with your guess.
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