Every once in a while I re-read an article written by my twitter buddy, Khe Hy. The article is called The magic of doing 10k work. In the article, Khe references many of our natural behaviors that make us feel good, but don’t actually move the needle in terms of progress we’ve made.
Khe references a visual quadrant he conceptualized.
It’s very similar to Stephen Covey’s Urgency / Importance matrix, which I also reference often in my life. You can see the quadrant below.
In both examples, you want to be spending most of your time in quadrant two. It’s a simple concept to understand, but applying it is very difficult.
The reason is that spending your time in quadrant two eliminates instant gratification.
Being in quadrant two means doing the things that sacrifice the present moment in exchange for leverage and scalable results in the future.
For instance, all the time I have spent over the years writing and publishing long form articles and guides on Stodzy is time I spent in quadrant two. When I publish those articles, there is no “swoosh” sound on my phone that gives me a dopamine hit. In reality, most people will never see most of the things I have written and published. However, over the course of years, those articles have been the main driving force to generate leads and business that has compounded itself into a scalable multi million dollar company.
Spending your time in quadrant two requires courage, because there is no guarantee that the work you are doing will pay off.
There is a high probability that most of what you create while doing $10,000 work will have zero impact on your bottom line. Reversely, there is also a high probability that a small minority of what you create while doing $10,000 work will have HUGE impact on your bottom line.
20% of your work will drive 80% of the results. While you are actively doing the work, it’s impossible to know what will pay off and what will fall flat. That’s why you focus on the work at hand and you accept the juxtaposition of certainty.
SOMETHING will pay off, but you can’t know what that something will be. Do the best $10,000 work possible and continue onward.
In the end, you will thank yourself.