I love compound effects. Doing one thing consistently delivers massive results. Money in an account that grows through interest, and reinvests the interest for growth on growth is how to make your money work for you and how we can see the compound effect in action.
Sometimes it’s hidden. A lot of the time it’s hidden! There’s this great example which I’ll tell you about in a second. You are given 2 options, and one sounds like the worst option when compared to an immediate option but as you’ll see – it proves delayed gratification is SO worth it!
Here’s this great story: you can have one of two boxes.
Box one has £1million in it. Do what you want with it.
Box two has a magic ability to double its contents every day, but it only has £0.01 in it.
You of course look at this and think “I’ll take million – I can invest that, change x, y, z things and have a great life right now!”
But if you think about it… 1p becomes 2p, 2p-4p, 4p-8p… That’s pretty slow actually… Lets look further. Day 16 is £327.68, Day 21 is £10,485.76… If you wait till only Day 28 you’ll have made £1,342,177.28…
You’ve got your million and tomorrow it’s going to double!
And that’s going to double!
And double again…
You’re grotesquely rich by waiting only a month!
There’s no way you’re doubling your box one million that fast!
I love this idea. I’d LOVE that box two!
So how can we crowbar this into our lives?
Consistency is an ‘easy’ way into implementing compound effects in your life. Easier said than done – it’s one of my biggest struggles by a long shot!
I get distracted, lazy, lethargic, lost and a whole host of other crap excuses for why I haven’t done my ‘one thing’ that day.
If you’re a blogger, you’re starting off blogging and writing to no one. Completely fine, over time you’ll grow – But you’ve got to keep writing. You’ll get better with every single post. Additionally, you’ll have a catalogue of posts behind you that prove you’re worth people investing time into.
One post may take off and that’ll bring the other posts up with it as this influx of readers checks out your other stuff. “A rising tide lifts all boats”!
Consistency delivers results.
As a YouTuber, your first videos are going to suck. Bluntly speaking! A handful of examples launch with complete home runs out of the box but let’s not compare ourselves to them. It’s not something you can guarantee so we shouldn’t expect or rely on it.
You have to get around 50-100 videos out there. Similar to above, as you create, each video is going to get better. You’ll come across hurdles that you’ll need to work out how to navigate, and once you do that’ll speed up the production of future videos. We learn best from our mistakes and through experience.
By video 100, I can almost guarantee you’ll have built up some sort of audience that you can use basic analytics to guide your content’s future.
You might find you’ve got a 60% female audience, so double down on that.
You might find that certain topics are overwhelmingly more successful than others. Double down on that.
Through consistent publishing, you put yourself in a position of certainty and confidence.
“Small, unsexy but smart decisions lead to incomprehensible & incredible results!”
One of my favourite books is The Slight Edge. It was the first book I read that punched me in the face with the compound effect.
The Slight Edge approaches it with slightly different examples – there is the two box story, and there’s a sneaky health story:
You don’t die because you eat bad once, but eat badly every day – 365 times in one year – and your health is in a dire state.
Pizza doesn’t kill you, but pizza daily might!
1% better every day. This is a personal mantra of mine.
At the end of the year, you are 365% better than day 1.
3.5x better than last year is astronomical.
As I struggle to keep consistent, I’ve come across a variety of strategies that have resonated and overwhelmingly been effective for me.
1. Focus on easier & faster activities
Sometimes I can get hung up on making a polished video. I want to colour grade it, add cool effects, lower-thirds etc.
It takes time, and I’ll get interrupted and then never get back to it.
It’s easy for me to type and write though, so I could and should blog more.
I paint detailed, textured, complex paintings. They take ages! I don’t produce many paintings because it’s such a commitment. It also isn’t as exciting 6hours in. It would great if I could achieve the same thing with only three hours – I’d stay in my state of excitement and most enjoyment. I’d post them more often. I wouldn’t be intimidated by the amount of time I need to carve out of my day.
How can I make my painting faster? Apply the Pareto Principle, work out what 80 is affecting the 20. Or vice-versa.
80% of my time goes into painting and repainting the same thing. If I cut that part out, and go with block colours, some highlight and shadow, and move on – I’ll have saved 80% of the time it takes!
I can put that into another painting!
I should learn a more simplistic approach.
What is the most effective or impressive part of your task? Can you focus on simplifying that, or getting to/around that bit?
80% of your success comes from 20% of your actions.
What I like about TikTok right now is how low the acceptable standard is. You can do polished stuff, but also you can pull up your phone camera, talk to it, and post it. The barrier to entry is low.
You don’t need to waste time hashtagging the posts either. Use whatever. There’s a whole strategy to that that you can read about here. For the most part, at least at the time of writing (02/05/20), anything will work and you can even not use any at all.
Your video will still perform.
2. Get someone else involved.
If you’ve got friends, family or contacts that can get involved. Get them involved!
It can be more fun, takes the pressure off you performing because potentially it’s you and a mate messing around in front of the camera.
I have a load of actor mates, #humblebrag! Being on camera is always good for them, they understand the whole self-promo thing because that’s what they do all day. I should interview them on camera… (Note to self, interview them!)
You may feel embarrassed to be on camera with your friends, all that’s telling you right now is that this particular friend isn’t the right one. Is there someone you could be on camera with? Ask questions to? Whoever that person is, hit them up!
3. Make the goals visible
If you’ve got a whiteboard, write down your goals and put it in front of your work area, now every time you look up, you’re goals are punching you in the face and nagging away at you!
Jade Darmawangsta uses a whiteboard and puts sticky notes on it. The bright colours catch your eye, you can use different colours for different categories and you can also easily move them around the calendar. I love this approach for this exact reason!
Sometimes today isn’t the best day for shooting a video because its sunny outside and I wanna go play – or it’s raining outside, and I can’t go shoot the B-Roll I wanted.
You can watch Jade’s video on this here. ()
Expanding on the above:
4. Break your goals down into teeny tiny pieces.
This is a bit more of a productivity tip than consistency, but… Sometimes a task is too big – break it down into teeny–tiny pieces – and it’s a lot easier to get the ball rolling.
Shoot a video could become:
- Research ideas
- Write script
- Setup camera
- Setup lights
- Check audio
- Record a quick one take and get it all out
- Polish up bits you goofed
- Download clips onto the computer
Sometimes checking off even the tiniest task will give you a sense of achievement. This will spur you on to do the next bit, and the next bit.
Or, as you’ve set up the lights, you might as well shoot the video!
5. Carry a notebook
Straying into productivity again…
Keep a notebook with you at all times! You can make notes, jot down ideas that come in, note questions you need answers to etc.
Note everything down, and this can be a source of inspiration in the future.
Out of ideas? Pick up the book and flick through it. Some of your best ideas may not be much to start with – but a couple of months later they may be your next successful product!
6. Just do it!
Take this one from Nike. Sometimes, there is too much to do. You can whittle them down in a few ways; one of the most effective is to choose one and ‘JUST DO IT!’
Another approach is to work out which will be the most effective. One task might result in a digital product or something you can sell. That directly affects your income and will incentivise you most.
If you building your audience, do the tasks that are going to give you the most content to share with your audience. Fill that content calendar!
7. Analyse your day
I use a couple of apps to track my daily activity. I like seeing where my time goes, I like it to be as specific as possible so I use the app Qbserve. (Desktime is another I have used.) It will track how much time is being spent in each app and most importantly for me, the window’s name. Most tracking apps require you to start a timer – I could never remember to start and stop the timer, these two apps track automatically.
If you track your time, you can see where it goes and you can analyse and correct, if necessary, your behaviour.
It can be a bit shocking when you see that you spent 6hours watching complete shit on YouTube – What else could you have done with that time?
Read a book in the sunshine and got a banging tan?!
You could have painted a picture, written a blog post or recorded a video.
I don’t think procrastination is an all bad thing, but we must keep an eye on it. Sometimes it’s nice to let the conscious mind veg out and breathe. But we can also procrastinate smartly – Instead of binging some entertainment videos, what about some educational videos?
Analyse your day, and try one exercise out where you look at all the things you did. Make a note of what activities weren’t on task for you. If your goal is to create a successful blog, any tasks that aren’t going towards that goal are potentially bad uses of your time.
In summary, reduce your barriers to entry:
- Focus on easier & faster activities
- Get someone else involved
- Make the goals visible
- Break your goals down into teeny tiny pieces
- Carry a notebook
- Just do it!
- Analyse your day
Thanks for reading, good luck with building your consistency and reaping the rewards of the compound effect!