The $10,000 Per Hour Work

Amar Pandit , CFA , CFP

Amar Pandit

A respected entrepreneur with 25+ years of Experience, Amar Pandit is the Founder of several companies that are making a Happy difference in the lives of people. He is currently the Founder of Happyness Factory, a world-class online investment & goal-based financial planning platform through which he aims to help every Indian family save and invest wisely. He is very passionate about spreading financial literacy and is the author of 4 bestselling books (+ 2 more to release in 2020), 8 Sketch Books, Board Game and 700 + columns.

This post was actually supposed to be a part of my book “The HappyRich Advisor”, but during the editing stage, I decided to reserve this one for later. The concept for the $10,000 per hour framework comes from productivity course teacher (guru), Khe Hy. He had written a wonderful post “The Magic of Doing $10,000 per hour work” and I was eager to share the magic of that post in the context of the work you do. Needless to say, you will find this super useful.

We are all busy. We feel busy (and in a way we enjoy that feeling because it makes us feel important). We have a sense of not having enough time. Truth be told, we never will if we continue to do things we always have. Socrates wrote, “An unexamined (professional) life is not worth living.” Thus, let’s begin with that one important question.

What truly moves the needle for you?

Was it easy to answer this question? I suspect it’s not very easy.

This is where the $10,000 per hour work Framework steps in. So, what is this framework?

Khe writes $10,000 per hour work is the process of identifying your highest leverage activities and committing a small amount of time to them each day. It’s the fastest tortoise strategy on steroids.” 

Source: RadReads

Think of your daily activities being divided into the 4 above buckets. You can even draw your own version of this and change the numbers to rupees (if that gives you comfort – just multiply each number by 10; don’t worry about the exchange rate). If the numbers feel too big, think of multipliers instead. If the lowest unit value work is $10/hour, what’s something that is 10x more impactful? How about 1000x more impactful?

It is fairly clear from the above image that learning a new skill comes under the bracket of $1,000 per hour work. For example, a senior lawyer at a top legal firm who bills $1,000 per hour or Rs. 75,000 per hour (in India). Yes, this is super valuable but is there any leverage in this. I doubt so.

Like Lawyers, our profession is a skill based one. But is it a high leverage one? Nope, it’s clearly not. Thus, there is a clear cap on the number of clients we serve. This is also the insight that most practitioners miss. Do you understand this? I am sure you do. But have you implemented this in your practice? 

Leverage comes from people, technology, processes, skills, and capital (provided you know how to effectively invest this in your business).

For instance, you could write emails to your clients, or you can have someone on your team do this for you. You could then leverage this time to meet up with prospects ($1,000 per hour activity) or hire an excellent sales head who could bring in more clients. This is the concept of leverage and I know we are all very aware of this but there is a gap.  The Classic Knowing Doing Gap.

However, this post has an action bias and that brings me to the next visual.

Source: RadReads

$10/hour work – When you complete a task, there’s an undeniable moment of achievement. The swoosh sound fires dopamine. While dopamine is good, too much of this type of dopamine can be injurious to the health and growth of your business.

The 3 biggest culprits here are Email, WhatsApp and Notifications.

Surely many Emails and WhatsApp messages demand a response but on your own terms. Not Just to hit some milestone. WhatsApp Groups (personal as well as professional) are another form of $10/work. I am not saying they are useless (which many actually are) but the key here is that you have not made a promise to any of them that you will respond instantly.

$10/work is nothing but busywork. And it’s got to change. When? How about TODAY?

$100/hour workThese are high leverage but low skill activities. According to Khe, this quadrant is busywork at scale. Many of our daily activities happen in this quadrant. 

Working on CRM activities. Creating a series of reminders to stay connected. Maintaining a log of your interactions. Most of these are essential but the key question here is – Is leveraging this Skill the answer to Growing/Scaling my firm? The answer is a clear No again.

You know about the $1,000/ hour work by now. Let’s then get straight into the heart of this post.

$10,000/ hour work 

Khe writes “$10,000/hour work is the exact opposite of $10 /hour. There is no swoosh when you complete it. Zero dopamine. The results aren’t seen for years, if not decades. Like the Important, but Not Urgent, it becomes easy to ignore these activities. I will wait on my question asking skills for a day. A week. A year. A career.

The trickiest part about $10,000 / hour work is that it is sometimes hard to define, but I know when I see it.  $10,000 per hour work is a peculiar cocktail of your industry, skills, passions, curiosities, relationships, and vision. It’s planting important seeds for the future, yet you can’t simply fill all your day with it, else the business will not move forward.”

The point is that you need to strike a balance between performing and transforming (this is one of my future posts). You need both.

So, what are the high leverage and high skill activities for you?

I will wait for your responses on this one. I will then compile these and spice it up with my own thoughts.

A Hint: Writing this blog is one of my $10,000 per hour activities.

I am curious to know what’s yours.