We always hear the admonition to work on our weaknesses to be well-rounded individuals; however, if being ridiculously efficient at work is your goal, sharpen your strengths instead.

My top reasons why:

1. Why be average when you can be excellent?

[contextly_auto_sidebar id="1f1lpSeAum6pXosHc2B3giIObVCvTEZI"]If you spend 20% of your time working on weaknesses, you'll be able to improve to average proficiency.

If you take that 20% of your time and sharpen your strengths, you'll be able to improve to upper-echelon proficiency.

This doesn't mean you must be myopic and work on only one aspect of your strengths. Let's say you're excellent at project management, or organizing logistics. Part of your development work might be in testing/vetting new online platforms to do the same tasks faster or easier.

One more note on this: It can be frustrating to work on things you're not good at. Conversely, it's fun when you get to find flow and work in your element. I know how I'd rather spend my day...

2. It's never been easier or cheaper to connect with talented people whose strengths are your weaknesses.

Talented people are all over the world, accessible via sites like Fancy Hands or Fiverr or Freelancer or eLance or oDesk. They're attending colleges and universities near you and can get college credit for internship experience at your company.

If it's cheaper for me to outsource a task (or a basic part of a task) to a capable freelancer than it would be for me to do that task myself, why not?

To illustrate this idea a different way, think about how you'd price out different parts of your next project if you were to outsource everything that isn't mission-critical for you to personally do.

Let's use the example of preparing a proposal deck for a prospective client:

  • Market research
  • Strategic analysis
  • Graphic design (for the deck itself)

Now pretend you have to outsource the whole thing. An hour's worth of market research can go to Fancy Hands for about $25. You can also outsource your PowerPoint graphic design on Fiverr for a cool $5, and have it back in 24 hours.

As you wait for your freelancers to come back with the work, you can focus your time on other revenue-generating activities -- which will likely net you far more than the $30 you just spent.

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