Do the Edges First

When I was a kid my mom used to love doing puzzles.

If it was raining during the weekend or we had a snow day from school, she’d set up a foldable card table in the living and dump out a thousand piece puzzle to pass the day.

Now I don’t know about you, but my strategy was always to start with the edge pieces first. It was easier to find the edges, match pieces up, and see progress being made in the beginning (which was key to not getting bored and finding something else to do).

If I had started with trying to find pieces somewhere in the middle and matching all those up I probably would have quit before I even made a match.

So what does this have to do with making videos?

Instead of worrying about the hard and frustrating parts of making videos, the middle pieces, start with doing the tasks that help build momentum to carry you through completing them all.

Let’s look at a couple examples.

The Edge Pieces of Shooting a Video

The most intimidating part of shooting a video for me is when the camera is recording and I’m delivering what I want to say.

So instead of worrying about that part first and entirely putting off making my next video I instead just focus on the edge pieces.

  • I set up the camera and lights.
  • I properly frame and expose the shot.
  • I make sure I’m in focus.
  • I test the audio levels on my microphone.

When I just worry about the simple tasks I have to do to set up the video shoot, before I know it I’m already recording and working my way through my script. The momentum of setting up carries me through the recording part.

Let’s take a look at how this applies to another daunting part of making videos: editing.

The Edge Pieces of Editing a Video

How many times have you shot a video and then kept putting off actually editing it for whatever reason? (Don’t worry, I’ve done it a lot too.)

When I sense that I’m delaying the “dreaded edit” I write one simple task on my to do list.

“Import and Sync Footage”

Once I take the time to import my files, sync the audio and video together, and label all the footage in my editing software there are no more barriers to begin editing. All I have to do from there is just hit play and start editing.

Instead of thinking “editing this video is going to take forever and I don’t know where to even begin” I now can just convince myself to just edit the first minute. Then the next minute. And the next. And so on.

Before I know it I’ve made my first pass through the video and it all happened because I imported and sync’d my footage.

What are your edge pieces?

Whenever you sense yourself hesitating to complete a certain task, think to yourself, “what are the edge pieces here?”

“What task can I quickly get done that will break down the motivational barriers to finally get started on this thing?”

This simple mindset shift has made a big difference for me. I hope it does for you too.


Special thanks to Todd Henry’s latest book Die Empty for the idea of this post. (img)