Thinking Inside the Box – How To Do Things You REALLY Hate

We all have things we're not good at, but we have to do. In my case, it's numbers in yours it might be marketing or sales calls.

Mostly the way people try to solve this is by finding a template or the way somebody else does these things.

But that never works.

Here's what you should do instead

Jonathan Stewart:

So I was asked a really interesting question recently on a consult They understood working in the way that works best for you and figuring out what works best. But they asked, what do you do when it's something you really don't like doing. How can you still be effective with things you really struggle with? In this episode. I'm going to talk a little bit about that. And what to do when you have to do something and you really hate it. I am not great with numbers which is hilarious from a systems person. But I am not great with numbers and maths at all. My nine year old child has been better at math from the age of three, sadly not an over dramatization there. But as a business owner, one of the things that I need is to be able to know my numbers know how much money is coming in, how much has coming out, et cetera, et cetera. I needed to be able to keep track of all of the finacial moving pieces of my business. So as is common practice, when you are a business owner, trying to figure out how to do something, I don't have very much time. You look for a course or you look for a template or a something, or a thing that can help you do it. That will just mean you don't have to think about it. So I've downloaded a host of different financial templates and best practices. And they never worked for me. They just confused me. They frustrated me. I filled it all out and yet I still didn't understand what I needed to have. So I sat there and thought, what do I actually need? What do I actually need to be able to see and how do I need to actually see it? I spent the little extra time it takes. To figure out what I actually needed. To create something that I could use while waiting to be able to outsource it to my team, which is what I do now. But I still need to be able to see the numbers and we have to keep track of them in my own way. So I created something super simple. I sat there and go. Right. Okay. So what do I need? what is the point of me doing this? If there's no purpose to what I'm doing, I will not do it. That is just it. I cannot be motivated in the same way of like, this will be better for me in the long run. I don't care if it will not help me now. I don't want to know. I struggle with that. As many others do. So what's the point. Why do I need to do it? What is the intention of me doing this? Well, it's for me to better keep track of the money. Do I care about that? Yes, because if I want to run a sustainable business, that's going to last for a good long time. I need to be able to see all that. Okay. So that's that? What problem am I trying to solve? Well, I can't see my cashflow. I'm flying by the seat of my pants. Most of the time, I am trying to make it up as I go along. So I need to have it be there. And every other thing that I've used was overly confusing. It was trying to do everything it was trying to have, you know, Send it off as a tax return and an information like that. But what I needed to do. What I really needed to do is just have a solution that worked that was easy for me, that meant I could see what was going on because quite frankly, I didn't want to spend all my days in a spreadsheet. I wanted to be in there. Get out of there immediately. So that I didn't have to think about it. So I needed a solution that was effortless. If it had any form of restrictions or friction, if there was any friction point for me, it wouldn't have been done it just would have been left and I would never have continued doing it. So it needed to be as effortless as possible because the truth is you will have to do things that you don't like, and sometimes you have to lower the bar slightly. The difference between a successful outcome and an unsuccessful outcome is making sure you know, what the outcome needs to be. For me, all I needed to do is be able to keep track of those numbers and see at a glance. What money's coming in, what money's coming out, what I need to do, it can help me plan ahead. That's it. That's all I can about. I didn't need to categorize all their categorization would be useful and valuable. I just needed to be able to come in, do my job, get out, find the information quick. Quick and effortless. That was success for me. Just being able to do it every day, often when it comes to creating new systems we try to take ourselves to a whole nother level. We're like, okay, well, I'm going to be really good at looking at my tax and my finances and everything. When I look at my finances, I'm going to try and do everything because I can't do it, so I need to be able to do everything. But the problem is I don't want to become a tax person and math is still not my strong point even with spreadsheets. I don't really want to, at the time, dive into spreadsheets. I wasn't interested. I wanted to have conversations. I wanted to record things like this. So by making it as easy as possible, where I just press a button put in some numbers and off I go. It became effortless for me. It was just accepting and saying, Hey. I am. Not good with numbers. It's not something I can do easily. It's not, it doesn't come naturally to me. And yes, I could spend some time to figure it out and I could spend a lot of effort trying to figure it out, but at the end of the day. I only have a certain amount of time and I want to focus on. Making the biggest impact and putting in the numbers and creating a massive spreadsheet that was overly complex, but gave me all of the details is not something they gave me joy. And helped me make more impact what did is just being able to see the numbers and got a general overview of how much money was coming in, how it was coming out and what more I needed to do. And that's what it was. So if you are a currently in a position where you can't outsource and you can't find a way of doing things differently. Then start from a place where it is effortless as possible it is as easy as it can be. Because often when it comes to getting advice, people give advice based on their own perspectives, as I have said before. But if the context for you is that you are stuck in this box because you have no choice decide why you need to do these things, make it clear, make it matter. If it matters, you're more likely to do it and then know how it needs to feel know what problems you're trying to solve and know what you need to have, what it has to have for you to gain that success, that purpose, that intention of this system to succeed in that box. It becomes easier to do things when, you know why you're doing it and you start building a habit by accepting where you are, because change, as I said, previously, change happens when you accept who you are instead of trying to be someone else. Numbers isn't for me. That's okay. That is okay, but I still have to have it. You still have to do things in a different way. Another one is marketing. I'm not the biggest fan of sales and marketing. I find it difficult. I find it difficult to sell something. So I make it easier for myself. I have set my marketing up to be effortless where I am in a position where I can just talk. I can just have interesting conversations. I can think about you. On the other end of the podcast knowing that these conversations help you inspire me to keep going. It helps me and motivates me and I can just talk. As if I was talking to you right now. And I find that easy in comparison to writing structured pieces of content all the time, where you've got to have an a, to a, B to a C. It became too structured. That's why I stopped doing YouTube videos and why my YouTube videos never really fit because I was trying to structure it in the YouTube format of intro excitement, get people in Brooklyn and so it never really worked. My motivation changed. Yes, I could dedicate all of my time into making YouTube content. If I wanted to join the YouTube Rabbit hole wheel, et cetera. Then yeah, I could do all of that and I would know how to motivate myself. But I didn't want to, I prefer this this is easy for me. I come in, I hit record I do some light edits and off I go. This is a great way of me sharing ideas with multiple people and helping multiple people without it being a one-to-one call, because I am completely understanding that one to one work can be out of reach for people and that's fine. Sometimes you've just got to look at the box you're in and go, okay. So how can I make this box fit me? How can I make it as easy as possible until I can outsource. Why do I need to care about this? What does it need to have? What problems am I trying to solve? That actually matter to me. And how does it need to feel? For me with the joys of numbers, it needed to be incredibly simple. It needed to be me coming in, looking at my phone and putting in the numbers. And then off I went, it showed me how much money I had and how much was coming in and coming out and did all the math for me. Which is what spreadsheets do anyway, and that is it. However, the cool thing is as I developed that and I continue to use it, it became better. I had ideas of how to make it more useful because I had got into a habit of making it just as easy as possible. Now I'm in a habit. Being able to keep track of my numbers. But now I have additional things that I've added in because now I feel creative with it. I've taken an idea, a box that I've been put into the constraints and set my desirable difficulty. On the day I'm recording, this, I actually just recorded an episode of the Notion Nerds that's podcast and we were talking about simplicity and something that my co-host Danny said was around how he views simplicity as desirable difficulty, which I thought that was fantastic. Because desirable difficulty is a concept where you choose your rate and level of difficulty when you're first getting started and you have to do something and you have no motivation to do it, but you know, you have to, when you're in that box, You can just set the desirable difficulty to as low as possible, the lowest barrier to entry. In productivity this can mean something as simple as just having a page on your home screen, where you open up notion every single day. Because it matters cause you can cause it's important and why, because of this, because of that and having that real front and center, and then understanding and taking from what you do enjoy doing and trying to incorporate it into the box, because sadly, sometimes you have to sit in a box and that sucks, and it's a bit boring, but there's so much you can do with that. Because it gives you the chance to move forward. And then if you feel like there's more, you can do with it and you can bring in your creative aspects to that. Great. If not, then it just stays there it does the baseline thing you would need it to do until you can outsource. And then you can decide to outsource and let the other people do the bits that they love best so that you can do the bits that you do. If you have any questions around productivity that you'd like answering that you would ask them on a consult call please let me know you can tweet me or reply to the YouTube comments in the YouTube version of this and ask, I will be very happy to make a podcast episode on that otherwise I will see you next week. Bye.

Got An Impossible Problem?