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Friday Refill: Seek Leverage and Access

Published 4/2/2021

Look at your calendar. What doors are opening? What exponential gains are you building? Leverage and access are the key to building your career long term.

Transcript (Generated by OpenAI Whisper)
Hey everyone, my name is Jonathan Cutrell. You're listening to another Friday refill episode of Developer Tea. Sometime, between now and Monday, I want you to take out your calendar. If you don't have a calendar, you should probably get a calendar. What I want you to do, and this doesn't have to be a dated calendar, by the way. Really what I'm talking about is looking at your week, or whatever cycle you want to look at, but the cycle that you repeat most people repeat at the week interval. And what I want you to do, and don't limit this to work, by the way, and don't limit it to your work week Monday through Friday, go from Sunday all the way to Saturday. And I want you to look at every single thing on the calendar. And if there are implicit things, I want you to add those things. If there's driving, if there is, time spent eating, time spent working out that you don't have scheduled in, time spent watching TV, right? And I want you to go through and look at every single event. We're going to talk about a little framework here, and this is a very soft framework to be very clear. But a framework for evaluating how you're spending your time. And this isn't just for evaluating how you spend your time. It's also a framework for evaluating how you spend any kind of resource. Time is very important. Money is also an important resource, but you can use this framework for thinking about the value that you are getting out of something. The value that you're getting out of your time is incredibly important, but how do you determine that? It's very hard to put a specific kind of evaluation on a given meeting or on a given item. And it might be easier to look at a market value of something, but for you is this thing valuable. Time that you spent doing this thing is it valuable. And here are the two metrics that I want you to pay attention to. And I want you to use something like a one to five or even better a one to seven scale. And we'll talk about these two metrics more in detail here in a second, but the first metric is access. And the second metric is leverage. I want you to pay attention to these two metrics because these two metrics are very likely going to amount to how valuable something is to you. When we talk about value on this show, most of the time we're going to ignore things that have consumable value, linear value, things that once you do them and they're done, they no longer produce extra value. That's why we're focusing on these two metrics of access and leverage. Now, it may sound like this is only for your working events, but there are ways to view your personal life, your personal aspirations, even your leisure time through these two lenses, through the lens of access and leverage. So let's talk about how we might evaluate each of these, but I want to talk about each of these metrics more in depth. The first one, access is probably the most important to understand because very often when these kinds of frameworks pop up, they often make us feel terrible about how we spend our time. Because a lot of our time is spent doing things that are not considered in these frameworks, minds or in these ways of thinking to be high value, things like status meetings or commuting. These are things that confer very low value directly to us, but if these kinds of events provide you access, whether that access is to a person, maybe even a place, maybe that access is to another activity. If this particular event or this particular purchase, whatever it is, provides you access to a different activity that is high leverage, then the access becomes kind of a gate for the leverage point. Now, keep in mind that access is about relationships. It may not necessarily be access that someone else is controlling. For example, if you are a manager, your one-on-ones are presumably under your control. If you want to do, you can cancel all of them, but this is an access event. It's very likely that the access that you are achieving with your team is very much worth the time that you're spending in that one-on-one meeting. When you're looking at various events, you can imagine which ones are access-oriented events. These are things that don't confer immediate value to you. They seem to be kind of the price that you're paying for a different effect, a different goal, something else that is going on. They're supporting some other effort. And then the high leverage events, and it is possible, by the way, to have both in the same event or in the same purchase. But a high leverage event is something that is very low in terms of investment. It's very low in terms of energy or effort that you have to put forth, and very high in terms of carrying you towards the goal that you are shooting for. This is a little bit more of an intuitive measure than access was. So if you're looking at your work events, you can see things that might fit in either or category. You can see things that might fit in both. And then you can of course see things that fit in neither. And there's a lot that you can do with this information. First, you can say, okay, well, the ones that fit in neither. Either I can eliminate those, or I can figure out why, why does that exist in the first place, and is there a way to make it an access or a leverage event. So don't necessarily throw out the baby with the bath water. Look at your calendar with optimistic eyes, rather than trying to cut it down with a machete. There is a little bit of sensationalism when it comes to removing all of these things from your life with a lot of kind of violence against anybody who's trying to take your time away. Most of the time, there is a better software approach that you can take where you can convert some of these existing things into better versions of those things. You can also imagine your leisure time, your personal time through this lens, but in both work and leisure time, work and rest time. In all of these endeavors, it's necessary to understand what your values and your goals are. Because how can you understand leverage without knowing what you're leveraging towards? How can you understand access if you don't know what you want access to? So it's necessary before you start any of this, sorry to pull the rug out from you, you know, all the way through this exercise, but before you start any of this is necessary to identify what are your values, what are your goals? If your values are to be a good parent, spend time with your kids and to get good exercise, then it might make sense that a high leverage event is exercising outside with your kids. And so this is the framework that you can think through. What are ways that I can get more of what I want with less effort? Not because I'm lazy, but because it gives me more time and more, more energy to find ways to access and leverage better. Now let's be very clear, this isn't the only way to view your calendar. This also is not the ultimate process for defining what events are good and bad. On your calendar, I hope that this has been inspiring for you and that you'll take your calendar and look at it through this lens over the weekend. Thanks so much for listening to this episode of Developer Tea. I'm excited about next week once again, but it's very possible that you will miss out on those episodes next week if you don't subscribe and whatever podcasting app you're currently using. That's the easiest way to make sure you stay up to date with what episodes are coming out and allows you to kind of pick and choose the ones that you think are most relevant to you. Thanks so much for listening and until next time, enjoy your tea.