Some might call me lazy.
And if you judge me by the number of hours sitting in a chair, you’d be right.
Because right after I finish this blog post, I’m heading out the beach to dip my toes in the sand and watch the sun set over the Pacific ocean.
But if you judge my laziness by the volume of work I get accomplished, you might be singing a different tune. In the few hours I worked today, I accomplished more than most accomplish in a week (including offering on a new real estate deal to add to my portfolio).
Seven weeks ago, my wife and I decided to move to Hawaii for the winter months because—well, honestly, who wouldn’t want to trade the rainy Washington state for the gorgeous beaches in Hawaii?
Sure, my desire to hone my surfing skills and work on my tan probably turned a few heads in my own real estate investing company and those at BiggerPockets, where I run the marketing team and produce a significant level of content. But the interesting thing is this: My work has not suffered while being remote. In fact, while here in Hawaii, the quality and the quantity of my work has actually increased, and I’ve done it by working fewer hours.
So, how do I accomplish a high level of “output,” including podcasting, writing a book, hosting a weekly webinar, heading up marketing at BiggerPockets, writing blog posts like this one, attending meetings, selling real estate, buying real estate, and managing the entire process?
Two simple words: deep work.
The term “deep work” comes from the groundbreaking productivity book by Cal Newport of the same name. The book describes the practice of proactively working without distractions on the few items of work we all do that prove to be the most valuable—the “deep work” we really need to do, as opposed to the “shallow work” we often fall into, like checking email, engaging on social media, and sitting in pointless meetings.
If you truly want to work less and accomplish more, it can be done IF you are willing to work hard and work deep. Here are three strategies I’ve used to do just that.
3 Simple Steps to Work Less While Getting More Accomplished
1. Define your deep work.
Before you can begin working deep on the projects that matter, you need to decide: What really matters?
This might seem like a funny question at first glance. But all work is NOT created equal. In fact, the vast majority of what a person does each day has very little to do with the outcomes they are trying to achieve. Most of what we do is shallow work; this work accomplishes little but makes us feel productive, rather than be productive. This principle is perhaps best explained using the famous “80/20 Rule” that suggests 80% of our results come from just 20% of the things we do. So, what are the few things that really will make the biggest difference on your goals?
Here’s a quick example: I’m looking to buy an investment property. I could spend my time designing business cards, going to open houses, taking other investors out to lunch, or posting cute “quote cards” to my Instagram. Or I could do the few important tasks that will actually get me a new…