One of my best "get things done" tricks: is that I focus on the "last mile" of whatever I'm doing.

Here's a picture to illustrate what I mean:

Most of the work went into building I-40. But for the three houses in the circle above that live off of Lomaki Road, most of the value came from the last mile of service roads that were built to make the interstate accessible.

I see people spending a bulk of their time on the big parts of a project -- the equivalent of building I-40. But then they leave the service roads -- the details -- un-built, which means they never actually unlock that value.

A good signal this might be happening to you is when you hear yourself (or others) talk about ways you could accomplish something without actually doing it. And especially often, I hear people waiting for a trigger before they take an action.

So if I ever mention to you "how can you 'last mile' this?" what I'm asking is, "what's that one additional thing you can do, right now, to unlock the value of the project, that's not dependent on an external variable?" There are almost always small things you can do immediately that will unlock that value. Some specific examples include things like:

  • Lock in those dates right now instead of saying "we should meet sometime soon."
  • Create that slack team right now instead of saying "we should see if the group wants a slack team" (and then when you talk to the group about it, you can tell them "we have a Slack team for you to join")
  • Send a version of that contract redline back with all changes accepted and your signature already on it (it's incredible how powerful this is -- all the other person has to do is sign and they're done, vs. nitpick your redlines)
  • And the 'last mile' list goes on

Hope that helps you unlock more value in the things you spend your time on!