Enjoy what you’re doing. Get results. Ditch the rest

February 11, 2008 by Jared Goralnick

When was the last time you listed all your work responsibilities and ranked them according to enjoyment and value? If you’re spending much time on tasks that aren’t fun or valuable then you shouldn’t be doing them–automate, delegate, or eliminate them. And, if possible, try to get the things you enjoy most to produce the most value for you.

Example: my blogging. Two years ago when I started this blog I had little reason to write entries like this–most of the business I sought related to Microsoft Office productivity…and, to be frank, I no longer get a thrill out of explaining most Microsoft Office end user issues online. But I like writing about bigger issues and offering advice. Now that I’m working on a productivity application and have become more involved in certain circles, it makes business sense to write about this stuff. What I enjoy is aligned with where I derive value.

Counterexample: software development. I really enjoy solving technology problems…and getting my hands dirty with the code (when I’m familiar with the language). But it’s not a good use of my time because I can’t make much progress on a programming challenge when I have a dozen other projects to manage. Instead I now focus more on the architecture or user experience of technology problems, which gives me a similar buzz without the same timesuck.

I’d encourage you’d to make a list of all your responsibilities and figure out why you’re doing them, and what you get out of them. Consider using elance.com or hiring an intern to outsource the less useful or less enjoyable activities. Consider finding ways to get more value (even if it means spending more time on) the things you like. Decide what your perfect world would look like in terms of responsibiltiies–what would you have to do to get there?

My perfect world, at least as of today, would be full of this sort of writing, solving technology challenges at a high level, deciding what to pursue for my business, and collaborating with bright people (both new and old ones).

I don’t offer this advice just to make you productive–it’s because of two things that I/we often forget:

  • what we enjoyed when we started our business/job isn’t necessarily what we enjoy most now (and we’re not necessarily doing what we expected to be doing)
  • making money is only part of the equation. If we’re not doing what we enjoy (which, to me, has a lot to do with how much of an impact I’m making and on how many people I’m reaching), then seriously consider altering course

You should really subscribe to Technotheory via Subcribe via email email or rss.

5 Responses to “Enjoy what you’re doing. Get results. Ditch the rest”

3 Trackbacks

  1. Technotheory.com – Avoiding the online popularity contest to seek a deeper connection
  2. Technotheory.com – A quick guide for listening to what the world is saying about YOU
  3. Technotheory.com – 20 questions that your overwhelmed friends are afraid of


  1. Stephanie LH Calahan

    Jared -
    Dead on man! A number of my clients struggle with this all of the time. Either focusing time on things that they used to enjoy, or on things that they “think” they should be doing. Ditch or Delegate! I could not agree more that businesses often change as time goes on. In fact, most really good businesses have.

    I started my consulting business in 2002 when I realized that my corporate job, that used to be exhilarating, was now drudgery. No amount of a pay increase would change that. Top it off, my family and actually seeing them was also important and that was not even close to happening. So, I left cold turkey, started my company and have never looked back with regret.

    One other tip I would offer is that when readers look at their list of responsibilities to really consider if they are the one that should be doing it. Sure, when you started the business, making your own changes to the power point presentation may have been necessary, but is that really where you should spend your time now? Look at what items are not revenue generating and decide what activities you don’t enjoy and get them to someone else.

    I use a few different virtual assistants that work out fabulous for my business. No employees to pay, but the work gets done on time and with fabulous quality.

  2. Jared Goralnick


    Thanks for adding a great point about delegating–you’re right that virtual assistants, interns, or even traditional assistants are a great way to help people to focus on their critical job functions they ought to be performing. Congratulations on the shift (though it’s been a while) to consulting! And keep up the good blog!

Impart Your Theoretically Interesting Wisdom

Your Comments