Craft

Compressing vs. editing

On identifying and sequencing the actions that matter most.

I often say I’m able to “compress” my work into a small amount of hours. But compress really isn’t the right word because it implies doing the same volume of actions, just in less time. 

The greater truth is that I’m able to produce impact in fewer hours because there’s actually only a very small amount of actions that produce meaningful results.

And so what looks like compression is actually a ruthless elimination of all unnecessary actions. 

To use a metaphor: It’s much like a golf swing. Minimal physical effort applied in the perfect sequence, at the perfect time. 

If editing is the first half, sequencing is the second half of the equation. 

The two together is really the secret to the “four hour work week.”

Sequencing means doing things in the optimal order at the optimal time. And the key reality in a world addicted to urgency is that things that ultimately need to be done rarely need to be done “now.”

Knowing when to do something is equally as important as knowing whether something needs to be done at all. 

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I send an email several times a year with a handful of the most interesting things I’ve written or uncovered at home, abroad, and on the web.

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