The Cult of Done
My commentary on one of the best productivity "manifestos" of all time
Bre Pettis and Kio Stark co-wrote the Cult of Done Manifesto in 2009 and licensed it under creative commons to share with the world. For my money, it’s still some of the best advice for productivity.
Below is their 13 points with my comments.
There are three states of being. Not knowing, action and completion.
First principle thinking - by simplifying things down to their essential elements, it’s easier to handle and therefore easier to get things done.
Accept that everything is a draft. It helps to get it done.
Same with product launches. This is why I launch almost everything in beta. Then, I figure out how to make BETA sexy (aka beta is the new alpha ;0)
There is no editing stage.
…just different types of done. Editing = pain.
Pretending you know what you’re doing is almost the same as knowing what you are doing, so just accept that you know what you’re doing even if you don’t and do it.
And in the land of the blind, your limited sight is a godsend. I often find you only really KNOW what to do once you’re in the middle of trying to figure out what to do. So get in the middle as fast as you can.
Banish procrastination. If you wait more than a week to get an idea done, abandon it.
The longer you go not getting something done the more baggage you create around getting it done. “Abandoning” an idea simply means throwing this version of it in the trash. You can start it fresh later. Without baggage.
The point of being done is not to finish but to get other things done.
You need to get this done because it gets in the way of you getting the next thing done. If you can’t see past the end of a particular project, it’s too easy for it to feel bigger and more important than it actually is.
Once you’re done you can throw it away.
The stress of making a thing great usually makes it terrible and the lack of stress of making it great is more likely TO make it great.
Laugh at perfection. It’s boring and keeps you from being done.
Perfection = dull. Allow for beauty marks.
People without dirty hands are wrong. Doing something makes you right.
Creation is a series of massive compromises against your ideal. You want to do a million things to it. You can only do three. For someone who hasn’t wrestled with it, their advice will be too idealistic. Listen to those who make the wisest compromises - where you give up the least to get the most.
Failure counts as done. So do mistakes.
Public failures are better than private successes.
Destruction is a variant of done.
Creating something to completion only to throw it away is a million times better than an almost finished masterpiece.
If you have an idea and publish it on the internet, that counts as a ghost of done.
Anything the public can consume = done.
Done is the engine of more.
Done creates momentum. Momentum compounds. It will be much harder than you think at first but it will end much easier than you can imagine if you keep getting things DONE.
The Cult of Done Manifesto by Kio Stark and Bre Pettis was licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.