The word leverage has been quite in vogue lately because its being used to refer to using technology to increase productivity and output. So I’ll go through some definitions of leverage and how I apply it to my life and work.
So, leverage in the finance context (also gearing) is often used to describe the amount of debt incurred to purchase an asset. So for example, if you want to buy a house and you get a mortgage that covers 75% of the house price, you are using that percentage as leverage for your 25% to acquire the property. The larger the debt, the larger the leverage on the money you put down. In terms of debt having too much gearing is not good and increases risk, but that’s for another blog post…
In physics, a lever maximizes your efforts (or force applied) to move a large object. If you apply all your strength to move an object and it’s not enough, you’ll need a lever or a way to exponentially increase your output force.
This concept of leveraging can be applied to pretty much anything in life.
For example, I realised one day that I was spending too much time transcribing my physical notebooks to digital form, so I started using Evernote to take notes directly, rather than taking my paper notebooks with me. (I still use paper notebooks because I love them, but the vast majority of my notes and work goes straight into digital form)
I have calculated that this small habit change is saving me around 120 hours per year.
Imagine what you could do with 120 extra hours every year, that’s an extra 2.5 hours every week! Now that’s leverage!
But that’s just the beginning, you can use leverage to outsource the tasks in your business that you can’t or won’t do. Let’s imagine you are a psychotherapist and want to start a side business that makes you money while you continue to focus on your consulting clinical work. You have no idea of the ins and outs of how to create an online platform but you certainly know about your work and the content you want to create.
So how about you outsource a website, a logo and your social media. All you focus on is creating amazing content. You are leveraging other people’s talents and know how to build a business for yourself.
There are many platforms that link creatives and web developers all over the world and you can access hundreds of designers to help you build your branding & products.
A few sites to check out for this:
The amazing thing about today’s digital platforms is that it’s never been easier to reach millions of people and sell them your products or services. For the first time in history you can sell products for pennies and deliver them for virtually free all over the world. Leverage technology to expand your reach!
Another leverage related concept which some of you are familiar with already is the Pareto Principle. This states that 20% of your efforts bring 80% of the results. 20% of your customers bring 80% of the revenue, 20% of the clothes you own, you wear 80% of the time, etc.
Leveraging you time by saying NO to things that are not important or don’t make your boat go faster. I think we all have suffered from FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) at one point or another, but when you have a clear goal and a clear way to get there, all you need to do is focus on each of the steps.
We can often get sidetracked by distractions disguised as opportunities. So, always ask yourself: By accepting to do x, am I making my boat go faster ? if the answer is no, don’t do it. it’s that simple. There’s an amazing book for this, I recommend you read it if you have trouble saying no.
Another amazing way to leverage and make your boat go extra fast is by modelling. This is a term used in NLP (Neurolinguistic Programming) and it refers to copying the skills, traits, and even body language of the top players in your field. If you want to become the best in your field, follow the steps of the giants. Study them, contact them, read their books, ask them questions. This way you are leveraging the expert’s journeys and creating a shortcut for yourself to get where you want to get faster.
I actually try to do this with people that have specific traits I would like to have, dead or alive. If I want to become a greak writer and public speaker, I’ll read and study Churchill, if I want to become the best self help guru, I’ll model Tony Robbins or Jim Rohn etc.
You can also make sure you are leveraging the ‘lost hours’. These hours are when you are driving or on public transport, at the gym, or walking. You can use this time as a learning time. Get yourself an audible account for the year (cheaper per book) and start learning from the best. Determine what you would need to learn in order for you to get where you want to be and make your listening list to fit that.
And lastly the best leveraging technique is the simplest one: have a good night’s sleep. For me sleep is sacred. I sleep 8 hours every day. When you don’t sleep enough you are not focused and your mind is slow and sluggish. I take two deep breaths at night just before sleep and that helps my body fully relax.
Check out this post about how to create the best possible setting for a great night’s sleep.
“Every problem is solved by a good night’s sleep”
Diana Simpson Hernandez
Designers for Humanity