The Automotive Efficiency of Running an Online Business

We had made dinner reservations for 5:30 pm, because we really wanted to try this restaurant and it was the only time slot they had available. Yes, it was definitely on the earlier side of things, but we were also going with our three-year-old daughter, so we didn’t want to stay out that late anyhow. No big deal.

Punching the restaurant’s address into Google Maps earlier that afternoon, the estimated driving time with traffic would be about half an hour. This was a few hours prior to leaving and driving just before 5:30 pm would mean we’d be hitting the busiest part of rush hour too. Given this, we’d want to leave the house no later than 5 o’clock if we wanted to be on time.

That was the plan. And it was while formulating this plan that I remembered the car needed gas, something I had meant to do the day before. Again, no big deal. It just meant we’d have to leave the house a little earlier to accommodate the extra time at the gas station. Maybe we’d leave at 4:45 pm or so, just to be safe.

But I work from home and the way my mind works is always subject to inertia. Sometimes, it can be really hard to get started and focus on the task at hand. Other times, I’ll get into this intense sense of flow and nothing short of a freight train can stop me. As it turned out, I got into a pretty good flow around 4:30 pm.

And so, as is so often the case, my mind and my work got the better of me and I lost track of time. Not terribly, but we did leave the house at 5 o’clock on the dot and we did indeed make the dinner reservation, but we didn’t have time to stop for gas along the way. The “low fuel” light lit up on our way there and little did I realize that there really aren’t any gas stations near this restaurant.

I probably got more anxious than the situation warranted, but I wasn’t positive we were going to make it to the nearest gas station on the drive home. Thankfully, we did and it really was no big deal. At the end of the night, everything was fine. We had a great meal and we made it home, safe and sound.

You might be wondering what this story has to do with making money online. Well, consider the way you approach your online business the same way you think about the fuel tank in your car. You’ve probably noticed that in Formula One, NASCAR, and other professional racing circuits, the cars pull in for a pit stop rather frequently, mostly to refuel.

When you’re driving around with a tank full of fuel, whether that’s on the street or at the track, you’re carrying around a lot of extra weight. This slows you down and significantly hampers your fuel efficiency, but you don’t really have to worry about running out of gas.

The exact opposite is true if you drive around with a tank that’s almost empty. Your vehicle is lighter, so it can probably go faster, but your fuel pump is working harder and you have to deal with the anxiety of potentially running out of gas and finding yourself stranded in the middle of nowhere.

The way that you should think about how you handle your online business works in much the same way. If you burden yourself with hundreds of projects, thousands of objectives, and millions of things to do, there will always be progress to be made, but you won’t move as quickly and as efficiently as you’re capable of doing. You’re weighed down by all this extra stuff you’re carrying.

If you focus all your efforts and resources into a single objective within a single project, you may make the most progress on that one thing, but it could leave you stranded if that one thing doesn’t work out. You’ll always have the anxiety of running out of gas. And even if it does work out, you will have neglected all the other moving pieces that also require your attention. That’s not smart either.

Just as with your car, the optimal place to be is somewhere in the middle. You’re not wasting unnecessary time stopping at the gas station every few steps, nor are you weighing yourself down with too much of a load. It’s about balance. And that’s the best way forward.

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