Ever spent hours, days, or even weeks laboring over a project only to get very little reward from it? Or maybe you’ve taken on multiple projects or responsibilities only to complete a few?
Believe it or not, these scenarios are more common than you’d think.
So, how can we avoid them?
Martin Willoughby, in Success Routines, Rituals, Habits #62, recommends asking yourself if “the juice is worth the squeeze.”
Consider the process of making juice. It traditionally required hand-squeezing the fruit. What’s more, you’d have to press a considerable amount of fruit or vegetables just to produce a single drink. Of course, the juice was made all the sweeter by the hard work that produced it.
But what if the juice weren’t delicious? What if, instead, it was a bland, tasteless mess of a liquid. It’d be hardly worth the arduous work, right?
This same principle applies to the projects or duties we take on and the effort required to perform them. If the desired result, or the juice, doesn’t equal the squeeze it demands, we can find ourselves frustrated with or failing in our endeavors.
Similarly, squeezing a fruit incorrectly, haphazardly, or with too little effort rarely produces the desired quantity or a quality of juice we want. Not putting the right level of effort into a project can also result in a poor outcome–or juice.
When we agree to take on projects, duties, or roles, we must be mindful of what’s really needed–not just expected–from us for a successful outcome. That means each project, duty, or role you consider must be carefully evaluated–including its objective and the level of effort required to complete it–to ensure that the juice you’re being asked to make is worth the squeeze.
To evaluate whether the juice is worth the squeeze, ask yourself the following 8 questions:
Does the number of my project starts equal the number of project completions?
What routines, rituals, or habits do I typically use to make sure I’m completing a project–and that it’s worth the effort?
Do I consistently calculate my target or desired returns?
Am I tracking the return on my time, effort, and energy?
Am I upgrading or improving my skills–especially those needed for this project? If so, how often?
Am I growing in human capital, social capital, and financial capital?
What do I need to do to ensure my efforts yield the return I want or need?
Is there anything holding me back or that could keep me from successfully completing this project? If so, what?