I do a lot of highway driving up and back from the mountains between our house in Denver and our house in the mountains where we spend most weekends and are spending summer 2022 as we try to slow down from the fast pace of city life.
If you’ve ever been to Colorado and gone to our mountains, you’ve almost definitely driven Interstate 70, which on its best days is a bit of a congested nightmare.
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But when you drive I-70, as Coloradans call it, as much as I do you start to learn some tricks to making up time. The big one is that the right hand lane when heading east is almost always faster because people assume that the left lane will be faster. This is true on many interstates, but for some reason it is not with I-70.
I did another trick today that I love to do when heading west. It also involves the right lane.
Semi trucks are notoriously slow going up the mountains. 70 is one of the main east <> west corridors across the United States, so there are more semis than you’d expect.
What you can usually do, though, when traffic in the middle and left lanes is slow, is get into the right lane and pass a lot of traffic right until you come up on a semi. Then merge in, and jump back into the right lane to do this again. 70 is big enough and you can see far enough ahead that you can usually do this quite a few times and never get stuck behind a semi going 20 in a 65 while hauling a heavy load over the Rockies.
Doing this today saved me probably 10-20 minutes (on a 90 minute drive) where I otherwise would have been stuck in bumper to bumper traffic in the left lane.
It made me realize a business principle that I too often forget – that sometimes you have to get in the “slow lane” to go faster.
Whether it’s purposefully trimming down your team so you can be scrappier and move faster with fewer meetings or intentionally simplifying the business and your offers, sometimes hopping into that lane for a while and then (hopefully) exiting just before you hit something (a plateau because you grew too fast) can dramatically speed up your journey.
If you’ve already simplified then the opposite may be true, but most entrepreneurs have overcomplicated their businesses instead of stopping to trim what isn’t working. Instead of trying to make something work that is not working, focus down on what is working and amplify that.
It may just be worth thinking about how in your business, just as in life, you can get into the slow lane so you can actually go faster.