The Secret to Getting Ahead

Recently, I was listening to Mitch Joel’s Six Pixels of Separation podcast as I normally do on my drive home from the office. The episode I tuned into was particularly timely given what I’ve been working on.

Mitch’s guest was Douglas Rushkoff, a media theorist and author, who just released a new book called Present Shock. In his interview, Douglas made a profound statement that really hit home. He said:

“The big problem with digital technology is that instead of using it to create more time… we allow it to penetrate our lives to the point that our time and value is further extracted.”


matt-russoI hear this all the time when talking to the small and medium-sized businesses I work with. “We’re already so busy, Matt. How am I ever going to find the time to start using social media?”

I see it when I’m out with my friends. Most reach for their phones to check-in, post a status, or monitor their tweet stream− even as we share a meal and conversation together.

I notice it in myself when I open a new tab in my browser to find a bit of data and I’m drawn away from my task by the red notification circle with a number inside it.

The world doesn’t need more ingredients. It needs better recipes.

Technology is everywhere. But that doesn’t mean we have to try and use all of it all the time. In fact, trying to do everything spreads our efforts too thin and makes us ineffective.

In his book The Four Hour Work Week, author Tim Ferris points out that much of the workforce fills its day with endless tasks and to-dos, not because they are critical to our success, but because we feel like we should be doing something.

Instead of performing “work for work’s sake,” he suggests we instead analyze our efforts and focus on the items that make the biggest impact, the pieces that allow us to achieve more with less effort.

Why This Column?

In my experience, the most successful individuals and organizations aren’t necessarily the smartest, the fastest, or even the best. Instead, they seemingly know exactly what to do next, where to be, who to talk to, what to build, when to act, and what to ignore.

My hypothesis: it’s no coincidence.

In a world where information is abundant, introductions are a click away, and tools are free (or darn close), they have learned how to create and replicate successful outcomes to maximize their efforts.

In this column, I plan to explore the systems that business owners just like yourself are using to generate more impact, money, and ideas with less time and effort. Some weeks, I’ll offer up quick technology recipes that will save your employees time. Other posts, I’ll dive deep into major systems and break down their components to better understand how our companies operate and what will help them grow.

Let’s start this off right…

What is your biggest challenge? Where do you get hung up, feel like your wasting time, or not making as much impact as you would like?

Leave your answer in the comment section below, and we’ll address it (anonymously, if you choose) in a future post.