"I want an Oompa Loompa now!"
- Veruca Salt, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
We live in a world of 7 minute abs, instant mortgage approvals and countless attempts to short cut things that require more time and effort than we want to afford.
We know these solutions rarely work, but we seem to forget this the second a new shiny solution is repackaged and resold to us.
Right now, I have the attention of your better self.
The part of you that would even click on an article with such a low promise as "1% better every day."
We're accustomed to "lose 50 lbs in 60 days eating what you like!" and "steal this simple tactic that lets you earn $1,000s while you sleep!"
1% simply doesn't compete with those. At least, not until you separate reality from click bait promises.
But right now, your reasonable side is showing and I want this version of you to stay with me for just a few minutes so you can absorb this brief but powerful concept.
I promise, it will be worth it.
What Do I Mean by "1% Better"
First, this isn't an original concept I created. I'm still diligently working to discover something as awesome as this that I could put my name on, but alas, I cannot yet.
I'm going to share my personal spin on the 1% better every day concept but please know, I'm not the one to thank for it.
First, don't get bogged down in the numbers. Many of the most important things in life aren't quantifiable. The 1% represents a small improvement of some kind.
"Small improvements" are at the foundation of all great achievements. We see the end result and we pursue that result and want it fast. We pursue it with no direction and expect the quick results that we've grown so accustomed to.
Think of it this way. If you were playing basketball, would you stare up at the scoreboard and expect that to help you win the game? You win the game by the work that led up to it and being able to execute when the time comes.
Instead of blindly chasing an amazing end result, we should strive to pursue the small improvements that produced it.
Not only are those easier, they're more likely to lead to real results.
"Great things are done by a series of small things brought together".
Vincent Van Gogh
So, the 1% better every day principle is merely the practice of trying to improve a little bit every single day.
One of my all time favorite authors and thought leader in the productivity space, James Clear, illustrates the power of improving 1% each day and the negative impact of a 1% decline everyday for one year.
I know I said don't get hung up on the numbers, but this graph illustrates the point well regardless of how we're quantifying what we're doing.
If you improved 1% everyday, you'd be 37% better one year from the day you started.
I know, the math seems weird, but it's correct. It's an exponential improvement not a flat improvement 100% ---> 101% --->102%...But again, let's stop sweating the numbers, they don't really matter that much beyond proving a point.
For more on this concept, I highly recommend reading the New York Times Best selling book, Atomic Habits by James Clear.
First, let me explain the different types of improvements we can make...
#1 Recurring (Building Good Habits and Breaking Bad Habits). You don't need me to preach at you about the value of building healthy habits, right? Establishing a new, positive habit can easily be a 1% improvement day after day.
Breaking bad habits is just as important as creating good ones. Addition by subtraction is powerful.
#2 One-Time. These are things like hiring a virtual assistant to handle your emails or creating software automations to take tasks off your plate to free up time.
You do them once and then reap the benefits for the foreseeable future. Amassing as many of these as possible is like giving you a head start on everything you do.
Next, there are different aspects of life that we can improve on.
- General Productivity
- Better Output
Let's get into some practical application examples for each.
Practical 1% Applications
The concept sounds good, but what does actually getting 1% better everyday look like? What things can you do to make sure everyday is an improvement on the previous one?
Here are some for you to get started improving things 1% in the key (quantifiable) aspects of life.
If you want to start tracking your own 1% improvements, click the link below and access my free Google spreadsheet. No email required, just choose "Make a Copy," and remove my information and replace it with your own.
This sounds good, Can Sign me up
About two feet away are 12+ boxes I moved into my office when I cleaned the rest of the house. The purpose was to go through one every day or so, because I think and work sooo much better when my office is clean and organized. That was in June. This will be the first thing listed on my spreadsheet. Thanks for the push, and the examples you provided on the spreadsheet!
Love it! Great first thing for sure.