I’ve talked a lot about the concepts of exponential growth and compound interest as it relates to a person’s learning and success. In this post, I wanted to elaborate a bit more on what I call the 1% rule.
Every day, I try to make it a goal to make something 1% better. Some examples of this are setting up an easy to follow weekly workout regime, or implementing a new system for my todo list. The primary goal is always to maximize impact while putting in as little effort as possible, so I try to find small tasks that will save me a lot of time in the long run.
Now, connect this back to what I said about growth. If you make something 1% better per day, that’s a 365% increase over the course of a year. You’re improving yourself almost four-fold per year, and that’s just from making a few small changes a day.
Now, the question becomes: what are these 1% tasks? I’ll admit, this is where things can get difficult. It can sometimes be hard to understand whether something is really improving your life or you’d just like to think it is. For example, I wouldn’t consider the mere act of organizing something to be a 1% benefit. If you clean something that’s messy, it’s just going to get messy again. A 1% task removes the ability for it to get messy by implementing a new system or algorithm in place that allows you to clean things up on autopilot. Going back to my workout regime example, instead of deciding what to focus on whenever I went to the gym, I could now simply just check off a point on a spreadsheet and know I was making real progress without having to worry about it. The best 1% tasks also affect multiple things at once. For example, my process for getting these blog posts out requires minimum effort, and yet it still helps exercise my writing and marketing muscles.
In sum, you can save yourself a lot of pain later in time by focusing on just a few things now. Find these 1% incremental changes, and put them into place. You’ll be happy you did.
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