Getting to Done & Why It’s So Important

I originally stumbled across The Cult of Done Manifesto by Bre Pettis in the book Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? by Seth Godin. The thirteen principles listed are focused on showing how getting to done is the most important part of work, not perfection. Just like when I discussed why you shouldn’t give 110% the done manifesto recognizes that it is okay to have mistakes along the way.

Many people lose focus and don’t get to done on their projects. Others spend too much time along the way and could have finished other things in the same amount of time.

It’s important to get to done on everything you consider to be essential in your life. Below are the 13 parts of The Cult of Done Manifesto and I’ll give some of my thoughts on each.

1. There are three states of being. Not knowing, action and completion.

I went through these stages when I created this blog. I spent months brainstorming ideas for posts, names, designs and niches. When I finally took action all of those things fell into place much faster. If I could do it all over again I would have just gotten started earlier. Even though I would have made mistakes I would have learned more by doing than by just thinking.

2. Accept that everything is a draft. It helps to get it done.

When I write I don’t expect all of my sentences to be exactly how they will look and sound when they are published. They go through a continual editing process after I get the rough draft complete. Even when I push publish I know that the version I just put online is still a draft. I may think of something a week later I want to add to the post, someone might notice a typo or a reader may create an infographic to explain a point. By knowing that that everything is a draft, it helps me finish the final product without worry about it being perfect.

3. There is no editing stage.

There is planning, action and complete. When you are working to create something you will be editing continuously, not only at one time. Editing is a constant process that is never complete.

4. 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.

This is an example of the mantra ‘fake it till you make it’. The difference here is that they argue that you actually do know what you should accept that you do know what you are doing. I think that in order to be an expert in something you need to think like you are and also act like you are. I’m not saying you should lie, what I am saying is you should speak from confidence and be determined to becoming an expert in what you are passionate about.

5. Banish procrastination. If you wait more than a week to get an idea done, abandon it.

On certain tasks, such as washing my car, I can be a chronic procrastinator. On other tasks, such as writing posts for this site I am able to focus on getting to done much easier. The key here is that when you keep putting something off it most likely isn’t worth your time and that it is just busy work. Only do value added activity and do them within a week.

6. The point of being done is not to finish but to get other things done.

When I have menial tasks to complete I do them quickly and efficiently so that I can get to the next one. There isn’t a big celebration at the end of them, but what’s important is just to get through them and move on to the next tasks.

7. Once you're done you can throw it away.

How often do you go back to look at old projects you’ve completed, email conversations you’ve archived or papers you’ve written in school? So often we pour all of our heart and soul into something and then the next day it doesn’t even cross our mind. Knowing that when you get to done you will never think of it again can release some of the pressure that you feel during the task.

8. Laugh at perfection. It's boring and keeps you from being done.

Through many stages of my life I have been a perfectionist when it comes to certain things. As a kid my sand castles had to have right angles on the corners of the walls and if some sand got stuck in the bucket I would completely remake a tower. I realize now that getting to perfect is not usually worth the extra effort. 90 to 99% will do.

9. People without dirty hands are wrong. Doing something makes you right.

What would make you the most informed on how to manage a project? Managing projects. What would leave you as the most knowledgeable negotiator of your team? Be in negotiations. Do something related to your passion and you will learn to be right by getting your hands dirty.

10. Failure counts as done. So do mistakes.

Even if you complete a major project behind schedule, over budget and under scope at least you finished it. Even mistakes count as done, so quit worrying about being so correct all the time and get some things done.

11. Destruction is a variant of done.

If you are working on a project and it is going nowhere fast, why stick it out? Why not just end the assignment and be done with it. Destroying something you know won’t be productive or profitable is important to being successful in both work and life.

12. If you have an idea and publish it on the internet, that counts as a ghost of done.

Once I started my website and had told a number of people the URL they could check it out at there was no going back. I had only written about four posts, but I had the accountability to other people that I wanted to follow through on. When I started telling others about my upcoming manifesto I had created the ghost of done.

13. Done is the engine of more.

When I completed paying off the debt I had for my car and student loans I immediately looked for what I could next save for. When you finish one goal it will be replaced with another, sometimes larger one. If you buy what you’ve always wanted, something else will come along to replace it. Realize that getting to done is important so that you can get to the next stage of your life.

What do you fail to get done each day and why? I’d love to here from you in the comments below.

Note: Reader Todd Clarke created this awesome Word Cloud of the 13 principles.