DADO: Achieve twice as much in half the time

The title is a little catchy, but entrepreneurial minded people, by diligently applying over time the skills that you’ll learn about below. will not only achieve twice as much but the limit to their growth in how much they’ll achieve will likely be far, far higher than they imagine. If there is a limit at all.

Why are we here? 

This material gives you, the reader, an introduction to a framework called DADO so you can apply it in your life and accelerate your growth, be that in career, business, personal life, health or others. At the end of the article, you’ll also get a chance to do a DADO self-assessment for free. In the assessment, you’ll see what strategies would best apply, where and how your choice of strategies affects your bottom line. 

What qualifies me to be here? 

Before we go into the meat of the article, here is a little about myself so we can set the context. Between 2012 and 2019, I worked as the lead programmer and CTO of an online start-up called Microleaves. In 2019, I exited and continued in a supporting role until about November 2019. At that point, we parted ways and when I left the company, they were well on their way to achieving $3.5 million in sales for 2019.

We started the company with almost zero capital and most of the work I did for Microleaves was, as you’ll see below, done by intuitively applying the skills you’ll learn about in this material.

Why is this important? 

In every personal or business venture, we are confronted with problems and situations we have to solve before we can get to the next level of achievement. If you’re spending half or more of your day foraging for food as our hunter-gatherer ancestors did, then you don’t have much left at the end of the day to improve your situation. 

Only with agriculture and domestication was man freed from the scarce nature of wild food. This allowed an explosion in technology and culture that happened mostly on its own. 

It is very similar to modern-day organizations and even for each person on their own. If you’re spending most of your time, energy and resources on your day-to-day activities, doing chores, solving problem after problem and putting out fires. Then you have nothing left in the tank at the end of the day to make room for the explosion of evolution in your organization or personal life. 

We have a common-sense feeling that by doing more, and more, and more we’ll eventually get to a point where we won’t have to. But we’re finite beings, with finite time and finite resources on a finite planet. That strategy is guaranteed to fail eventually.

Below you’ll see strategies and skills that every high powered CEO has mastered to the point of doing more than most of the people on earth. They have the same 24 hours each day as you and me. They just allocate it differently. 

DADO is an acronym for a very simple concept: Delete, Automate, Delegate, Optimize. And as you’ll come to know in a few moments, everybody does these steps whether or not they like them. 

  1. Delete

Delete is not the first member of the framework by mistake. Just like Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla says: “The best process is no process.”, the absolute best way to achieve more than you have in the past is to delete, erase, cut loose the actions that are slowing you down. 

For example, are you still practicing how to write your ABCs? I’d wager a sizable chunk of money that nobody reading this article will answer yes to that question. You’ve solved that problem and moved on. You’ve deleted it.

Or are you spending 4-5 hours a day hunting for animals for food? No, our ancestors solved this problem for us and now very few people hunt and mostly for sport.

A more present-day example would be if you’re spending a lot of time on the road to and from work. Many people spend over 3 hours a day commuting. Very many of those people have that time every day and do nothing with it. It’s dead time. 

Just imagine for a moment how your life would change if you had to take a two-hour drive to work every day and suddenly you’d move 10 minutes away on foot from work. 

How would your life change in three years if you spent that three hours a day every week improving it? How would your life change if you took just the money you used to spend on gasoline and spent it solely on improving your current situation? 

Just like it happened to our ancestors with the advent of agriculture and domestication. Deleting an enormous chunk of the time, energy or resources you spend on low leverage activities like daily chores will give you the freedom to achieve more. Usually with no more effort than before. 

  1. Automate

I can already hear people saying: “But you don’t get it, I can’t automate anything, it does not work for me, especially in my personal life”. If you find yourself amongst them, I just have to say this to you: Before the invention of personal alarm clocks, people still had to get up at certain hours. How do you imagine they did it?!…

In cities like London, there were special people called Knocker-uppers whose jobs were to wake people up. We’ve since automated that job first to clocks and now to our phones.

Here’s an example from my life: I used to spend too much time deciding what food to get. I sometimes spent over two hours a day just browsing food delivery apps, not being able to decide what to eat. 

I eventually went to a nutritionist. Together we made a meal plan and now most days I follow a meal plan and I eat healthier, less food and I spend less energy to do it. I’ve automated the discrete process of finding what to eat away by using my meal plan. What would your day look like if you automated some of the most boring repetitive activities?

  1. Delegate

You can be the most effective person on the planet, the most effective multitasker and able to handle anything anyone has to throw at you. You’d still be limited by a fixed resource that everyone has basically the same amount as you. Time. Even if you delete 90% of all the useless things you do now. Even if you Automate 90% of the simple repetitive tasks you do. You’ll still be confronted with a load of work and you’ll eventually get a full load. What then?

You’ll work more? You’ll work better / faster / smarter? What’s the limit on that? Eventually, you’ll get to a point where you’ll delegate away some of your responsibilities to other people. How polished are your delegation micro-skills? What does it actually mean to delegate something? How does responsibility come into question?

Working more and more and more will eventually lead to exhaustion and burnout, or worse. Working better, faster, smarter is all good, but it has its limits. There’s only so much you can sharpen a knife before you carve into its blade.

To really achieve more than double from the previous results with less than half the time, delegation needs to be treated as a skill or, better yet, as a collection of micro-skills.

Some micro-skills that underpin the meta-skill of delegation are:

  • Choosing the right goals. Yes, goal setting is a skill. Set a much too challenging goal and people will get demotivated. On the opposite side, set a goal too low and the responsible party will feel unchallenged and will slack off.
  • Progress tracking & follow up. Say you give someone an extensive project and only check in months later when the project is due with no middle milestones and the project is not really done. By then, it’s already too late to do anything.
  • Responsibility & Accountability. What happens if you delegate a responsibility to an employee and until tomorrow both of you forget about it? Nothing! That’s what happens. Clearly defining responsibilities is one of the most important micro-skills of delegation.
  • Deadlines. Good deadlines bring with them predictability, and whether you’ve delegated some work on a project for your biggest client or doing monthly check-ins, making sure they are done in time is probably what sets apart professionals from amateurs.
  • Circularity. Just as sports teams are better when all the players on the team collaborate and bring equal effort to achieve victory, so do work teams benefit by ensuring all team members contribute.
  1. Optimize

Say you’ve mastered all three of the first steps. You constantly Delete the dead weight that slows you down. You Automate everything that can be effectively automated. And you already effectively Delegate and you plow through most of the work needed for your organization.

You’ll still reach limits. This is where optimization comes into play. Improving the results of what you or your team are already doing is guaranteed to get you better results. Imagine you spend 6 hours once with your three-member team practicing how to pass information around. And that 6 hours shaves off 10 minutes every day of each member’s time. In 12 working days the time you allocated for the practice has already been paid off and from that moment on you are profiting for the investment you’ve made in optimizing your team’s results. In one working year, the investment of time you made into improving your work has seen a 20X return. How many investments do you know that can do that?

The story is absolutely the same for your own personal or professional results. Let’s say your morning routine takes 2 hours since you first open your eyes each morning and the moment you start your work. And you spend 20 hours deliberately improving that time until it takes only 1 hour to do the same routine just better. You now have 1 extra hour each morning. Compound that over 10 years of only working days and you get 2610 hours of extra time to do what you want with it. That’s a whopping 1 year and 4 months of extra 40-hour weeks of improvement you get from spending 10-20-30 hours once, >60 times return on your invested time.

This is the power of optimization. By applying DADO, you will learn to achieve twice as much in half the time.