Scaling: How to Get More Out of Every Ounce of Effort
Apply these product skills to simplify your life
Imagine if you had to constantly write one-off reports for higher-ups. Or check dashboards to share progress with your team. Or send the exact same reply to dozens of people who need your help. What would you do?
Rather than start something new each time, you would take these routine tasks and batch them. You would create automated reports for your higher-ups and send links to dashboards with your team. You would set up an email template for responses to repeat questions.
This is what scaling yourself means: finding ways to get out of the weeds and focus on value-added leadership.
I used to do a ton of one-off tasks every day, sinking countless hours into the many small things that took my attention away from the big things. Then I had a realization: I was a PM. If this were my product, I would scale it to make it more efficient and impactful. So why not focus on scaling my life the same way?
We often care for our products and our customers better than we care for ourselves. We're focused on scalability in our technology, scalability in our onboarding, and scalability in our work... but we don’t take this same approach in our own lives. Last year, I published a post on PMing your career like you PM your product. Today, I will show you how you can use Product Management principles to scale your daily life.
This process starts with asking yourself the following questions:
What am I doing that I could automate?
What am I doing that I could outsource?
What am I doing that could help more people?
What am I doing that can be reused?
By applying these questions to everyday tasks, you can expand your impact, work more efficiently, and free yourself up to focus more on what’s important.
Scaling means better processes
How much of your day-to-day life do you spend doing the same thing over and over again? How many minutes, hours, and days of work does this take—time that you could be spending somewhere else? Whether in your work or your life, ask yourself what repetitive tasks you’re doing every day that you could routinize.
I started this newsletter in January of 2021, and it now has almost 14,000 subscribers. As a result, the volume of emails I receive has also gotten very large. If you send an email to the address this newsletter comes from, rest assured that I read every message. Sometimes it's people telling me what a particular post meant to them. But other times, people ask me thoughtful questions. And those warrant a detailed response.
Many times, I would individually compose an email to each person who asked me a question about one of my posts. I would think about it, write a thoughtful, detailed reply, hit send, and then forget all about it. A few days later, I would get a very similar question from someone else. And what would I do? I would craft another detailed reply.
I replied to probably a hundred different messages this way. Eventually, however, I realized that many of the questions I was getting were relatively general and that I was repeating some of my responses many times. That was why I decided to start Dear Perspectives, a biweekly column on LinkedIn that will allow me to share my responses to these more general questions with all of you. When I reply only to one person, they are the only one who benefits from the answer. But perhaps by sharing them with a bigger audience, the answers I give will help others in similar situations.
You would be surprised by how much time you spend every day on repetitive tasks. If you do each one individually, the minutes and hours add up. However, by finding ways to scale this work, you can minimize the time you sink into it while maximizing your impact. It’s a win-win.
Scaling means investing in outsourcing
Knowing your comparative advantage is important for making your life more efficient. That means taking a step back and deciding where your top priorities are. For example, if you are doing all the housework yourself, you’re saving money, but you may be losing out on other things, like the amount of time you can dedicate to your work and your family. In these situations, you might benefit from outsourcing some of the less important, more mundane aspects of your life.
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