Work Capacity

Accomplishing more, without going insane.

Susan Sons

You aren't happier or less happy based on how accurate your predictions were when you started the journey.


Just enjoy the journey, and end up somewhere worthwhile, whether or not this has any relationship to what you were shooting for.


Increasing work capacity comes down to three things:


  • Finding more time in which to do work
  • Finding ways to do more work in the time one has
  • Doing more impactful work.

Start with more,

but understand that

more can be a trap.

Do Things Better, and Do More Impactful Things

It comes down to how.

  • Reduce overhead
  • Create a cycle of personal growth
  • Create and use a social/professional network
  • Delegate
  • Choose endeavors that offer synergy bonuses

Tools For Reducing  Overhead

Getting Things Done by David Allen


Tools can be a personal thing.  Start with something known to be decent, then experiment and evolve.


How To Reduce Overhead

  • Don't waste your brain power on remembering things.

  • Organization saves time wasted on: forgetting, confirming, being incorrect, lateness, goofing off, busywork.

  • Practice and improve process and tooling to make common tasks faster and simpler.

  • NEVER underestimate the performance increases to be had by tending your physical needs well.  Self-neglect is an insidious form of overhead.

  • Find the time creep: interruptions, distractions, poor communication, etc.

  • Reclaim waste in non-restorative down time by carrying work with you.

Creating a Cycle of Personal Growth

  • Establish a cycle; don't wait too long.
  • Review, evaluate, and plan: take an experimental view.

  • The big picture is your friend...too often we spin our wheels not because we did not do enough, but because we did the wrong things.

  • Beware of burnout.

Social and Professional Networks

Have you surrounded yourself with ambitious people who are themselves growing?


Have you gotten out of your ideological bubble?


Are you paying as much attention to your social world as your professional one, and vice versa?

Your Network Should Provide:

  • A stream of high-quality, varied input
  • People you can delegate to
  • Peer mentors
  • Connections to find out about cool things, recruit people, or be recruited
  • Camaraderie


You cannot do everything.

Delegation isn't just about emptying your plate...

you are giving someone else


  • a chance to grow and learn
  • experience they can lay claim to
  • whatever you would have gotten out of solving that problem or completing that task

Delegation Tips

  • Delegate the problem, not the solution.
  • When you delegate to a subordinate or a junior colleague, it's bigger on their plate than it was on yours.
  • Sometimes, failure is an acceptable option.
  • Delegation is a skill, like any other management skill, do pay attention as you develop it.

Synergy Bonuses

You get real-life synergy bonuses when two or more endeavors:

  • involve some of the same skills or tools
  • involve some of the same people
  • overlap in time and space
  • can bring work and pleasure together
  • force you to maintain neuroplasticity
    by thinking and behaving in different
    contexts or roles

Not all assets are money.

We all have limited amounts of personal capital.  Our time, energy, and sanity are finite.  We all recharge differently.


Find the things that help you recharge, and the people whose strengths and weaknesses complement your own.

Evidence Over Tradition.

The evidence we are familiar with does not focus on the outliers.  Both tradition, and traditional social science say "do this" or "do that" based on what works in the vast majority of cases.


Entrepreneurs are, by definition, outliers.


We've chosen to take risks

Rory Miller's "Three Sacred Questions"


What's the goal here?


What's the lesson?


What's the best use of my time?

What does this look like in practice?

More Resources

What's next?

The Indiana Startups Discord is a small but growing venue for finding like-minded people to network with and bounce ideas off of.  We welcome ambitious, entrepreneurially-minded people from inside and outside Indiana to join us.

Have ideas for future Indiana Startups events, online or in person?  Let me know.