Running like clockwork

Clockwork by entrepreneur and author Mike Michalowicz seeks to address a major mindset problem that afflicts many people, especially small business owners. It’s so easy to become so caught in a loop of day to day, minute to minute productivity, that your whole life can quickly become consumed.

Michalowicz ties this into Parkinson’s Law, the idea that the work you have expands to fill up all the time you delegate to it. In other words, if you devote more time to your business to be super productive and get everything done, more tasks and more work will arise to fill the void. He calls this the productivity trap, and it is the source of tremendous amounts of burnout and frustration with very little payoff.

But what then is the solution? How can you grow your business without becoming a washed up workaholic? Michalowicz proposes that it is organizational efficiency, not personal productivity. You have to make your business work for you, and that’s what Clockwork is all about.

The book is divided into 7 steps or chapters that are designed to be followed in sequence to get your business running like clockwork. The focus of these steps is to identify how you are using your time, what the most important role in your organization is, and then delegate accordingly. Key to the success of this is making sure that your systems and processes are simple and transferrable. This way you actually can delegate to others, and don’t have to assume the “If you want something done right…” mindset while constantly putting out fires.

There is also plenty of solid, practical advice about hiring for positions as well as how to use metrics to actually measure and stimulate growth instead of just being enslaved to them. Michalowizc is an experienced and talented entrepreneur, and it shows.

One potential turn off is that the book is written in a very informal, quasi-comedic style that can obscure the good points he’s trying to make. Honestly, the attempts at humor are mostly cringe-inducing and definitely make the book less impactful than it would be otherwise. If you can get through the bad jokes and drawn out anecdotes though, there’s a lot to learn from Clockwork.

Michalowicz’s smarter not harder, efficiency not productivity mindset has game changing potential. He does a great job at identifying the psychological traps that business leaders and entrepreneurs are really good at falling into. At the same time, the clockwork model is simple and actionable. It is an excellent framework for enabling you to delegate with confidence and pursue ideas and innovation with freedom.

Clockwork is available for purchase here.

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