One of the biggest questions that has been swirling about since the release of Minimalist Business is very simple:
How do I pursue doing work that matters?
One of the foundations of my work in Minimalist Businesswas asking the reader to eliminate everything in their businesses which isn’t contributing to their core business model.
What is important for me to get across in this article is the cost of wasting time doing things that aren’t necessary for your business success.
I’m absolutely convinced that most businesses fail because entrepreneurs insist on spending time on assumed requirements of doing business instead of actual necessities of doing work that matters.
Without doing work that matters, all of the other stuff you’re wasting time on doesn’t matter. My argument is that you only need to do the work that matters, whereas ritual necessities of doing business are basically obsolete in a lot of cases.
A few rituals of the normal business routine which I disagree with are: checking email 35 times a day, holding meetings to make decisions, answering every blog comment whether or not it’s relevant or even requires a response, answering your phone ever, and sitting at a desk from 9-5 even if you got the important work done on Monday in two hours worth of work.
Now, of course I can’t tell you exactly what your personal work that matters is, as important work is specific and different for everyone.
Time spent working doesn’t necessarily equal creating work that matters.
For example, this article will take me approximately a half an hour to write, and another half an hour to do a quick copy edit and schedule to publish in a few days.
Now, I could choose to spend the rest of the day tweaking the article or checking my email 35 times. None of that would matter though. I can tell if the article is good after a half an hour of writing. Eight more hours of fidgeting will not fix it if it is bad.
Eight hours of receiving and reacting to email will similarly not get important work done. When you batch respond to email during fifteen minute intervals once a day, you get less email and also have many empty hours in the day.
Empty hours are uncomfortable, and I’m convinced that most of us are terrified of them. This is why we spend all day hitting refresh buttons waiting to react to messages that don’t matter.
This is why we fill up our schedules with meaningless meetings which ask questions that we already know the answers to.
The secret to concentrating on doing work that matters.
You need to cultivate silence.
The answers you seek, the ones which will empower you to make the work which will fund your very existence on this planet, come to you when you aren’t working.
Clear your schedule until only a void remains, and the ideas that matter will come.
Don’t do anything for a week, and see how many ideas come to you. Write the best ones down, but don’t do anything with them. At the end of week pick the least complicated idea which resonates most with you and execute that idea and no other.
Work on this idea until you actually finish it.
When you’ve done this, you’ve experienced doing the work that matters.
When you actually empty your schedule and sit in silence until brilliance develops, you will start to make the changes that are required of you to bring you work to the next level.
Why sitting in silence is the hardest thing you’ve ever done.
A meditation teacher once told me that the first month of a teacher/student relationship when learning to meditate is simply supporting them while they slow down.
The people in this world move at a blinding speed. They’re mostly doing nothing, but they do nothing very quickly. Traveling at the speed of silence is incredibly difficult when everyone is running around like madmen.
I’m not saying that you need to meditate, that’s a different element entirely — though it also may be beneficial. Don’t try meditate if you don’t have any experience doing that, instead just sit alone somewhere. Go somewhere quiet, and simply be quiet. Don’t try to not think, just let thoughts come and go as you breathe in and out.
Try experiencing nothingness for 15 minutes today, and slowly work up until you can do it for longer. It isn’t easy, but it is worth it.
Just sit in silence and don’t do anything. The work will come when you aren’t distracting yourself.
If this helped you, I’d love if you’d share it via Twitter or another social networking service that you use. Thank you.