The byproduct of success is more work and harder problems. I hate to say it but this is what we’re working for ;) The knee-jerk reaction to those things would be to spend more time at work and work harder. But it can get you only so far…
That’s why whenever there’s a challenge ahead of me or someone who I’m trying to help I like to use the “10x…” method. It’s really simple and it goes something like this:
If you’d have to deliver 10x the results that you deliver now, what would you do?
Results can be whatever you measure your delivery by: number of projects, sales, whatever… The power of this method is that it forces you to level-up and think differently. Otherwise, if you had 30% or 70% more work then you could try to fit it into your existing way of working. But you can’t deliver 1000% more just by working harder. Only then you start thinking outside the box and finding creative ways to work.
Another side effect is that your priorities become more clear. Realising how small is your capacity compared to the mountain ahead suddenly gives clarity to what’s important. Moreover it makes you reach for help. Either by delegating or reaching for other external help.
This is why I totally understand the decision by Basecamp to freeze their hiring despite the fact they had a large success and don’t plan to work harder. It will be curious to see what they come up with!
In a sense the 10x method is a way of imposing a constraint on yourself. Without constraints there’s no creativity. Seth Godin once said that a nightmare project for an architect is to build his own house on an empty lot, having unlimited funds. There’s no constraints to which an architect is used to. So there’s no reference points, there’s less ways of assessing if an idea is good or not, there’s no pressure to look for creative solutions.
So the next time you are overwhelmed with work ask yourself the paradoxical question: how could I deliver 10 times more?