Make progress faster by cooperating: 4 tips to try with your co-founder or co-worker

February 13, 2013starting up

For a number of years now, I’ve found that I generally always had a “training partner” for my entrepreneurial goals. A few years ago, this was my great friend Khuram, with whom I consistently had a weekly meeting for over a year. In the meeting, we discussed our achievements and challenges to help each other keep pushing forward.

In the world of weight training, it is well known that having a partner helps with motivation and will mean you can lift more and see gains more quickly. Taking this a step further to the area of personal trainers, research has shown that those who switch from training alone, to using a personal trainer see many improvements.

Similarly, pair programming has become relatively well established and has shown to improve the quality of code, as well as keep both developers in “flow” state for a more sustained period of time.

In the recent months I have been using these techniques in my day to day work on Buffer and my personal projects such as blogging. In essence, my co-founder Leo and I act as personal trainers for each other for our work and life goals. Here are a few examples:

Brainstorm blog posts together, in detail

When I started this blog, every post I wrote completely by myself. It can be done that way, but when Leo had come on board Buffer fully as a co-founder, I soon naturally started discussing future posts with him, and he was super encouraging and interested.

These days, I deliberately brainstorm many of my articles with Leo, right down to the individual sections. It makes my writing task much easier, and the posts are better as a result.

Write a list for the next day

One of the activities Leo and I are trying to build as a habit right now, is to sit down together for 20 minutes at the end of each day, and plan the key tasks we each want to do the next day.

We’ve found that whenever we plan the day ahead, we’re much more productive, procrastinate less, and feel happier as a result. This is something I can definitely recommend you do with your co-founders if you’re in the early stages, or if you’re part of a team you could try it with a co-worker.

Pull the other person in, even for your own tasks

Something I’ve just started doing, and encourage Leo to do as well, is whenever there’s something I need to work on myself, and I find myself struggling to get stuck into it, I will book a slot with Leo to ask him to work through it with me.

This is especially useful for analyzing and brainstorming, where you need to map out many things and come to some conclusions. Although I do it with Leo, I am mostly leading it and it is one of those cases where simply explaining something to someone can help me a lot.

Weekly mastermind sessions

Perhaps the most productive two hours of my week are Friday night, where Leo and I always go to Samovar, drink tea and have a systematic mastermind session which I have learned and cultivated over the last few years. We share our achievements and the other person helps celebrate them and point out interesting patterns. Then, we discuss our biggest challenges right now, and help the other person find solutions or adjustments to make to improve. It’s something I look forward to every week, and I make real changes for the week ahead during every session.

Photo credit: U.S. Pacific Fleet

Thanks for reading

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