Blog Entries:

Some posts from The Methodology Blog around the time of Obsession with Done

Archives by Subject:

More Resources

Obsession with Done

Friday, March 13, 2009 by Slaughter Development

Media darling Bre Pettis has circling the web this week thanks to 20 minutes of work. Done, he asserts, is what matters, and all productivity arises from an obsession with done.

Pettis’ thesis appears as The Cult of Done Manifesto, which offers the following thirteen points:

  1. There are three states of being. Not knowing, action and completion.
  2. Accept that everything is a draft. It helps to get it done.
  3. There is no editing stage.
  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.
  5. Banish procrastination. If you wait more than a week to get an idea done, abandon it.
  6. The point of being done is not to finish but to get other things done.
  7. Once you’re done you can throw it away.
  8. Laugh at perfection. It’s boring and keeps you from being done.
  9. People without dirty hands are wrong. Doing something makes you right.
  10. Failure counts as done. So do mistakes.
  11. Destruction is a variant of done.
  12. If you have an idea and publish it on the Internet, that counts as a ghost of done.
  13. Done is the engine of more.

Brief statements of philosophy like The Cult of Done Manifesto are everywhere, and they seem to generate mostly reactions of inspiration or disgust. The comments on Pettis’ blog demonstrate this passion. Are these thirteen theses a mark of genius or an tragic oversimplification of real life?

The precise answer is unclear, but several of the points merit discussion. Item #1 insists on only “three states of being—not knowing, action and completion.” Obviously, projects can be stalled, held up by clients, placed on low-priority or rescheduled, but the notion of all status updates offering just one of the three states sounds blissfully appealing. Likewise, the suggestion of item #8 to “Laugh at perfection” makes sense, as it is a brazen restatement of the old adage “perfect is the enemy of good.” Even #10 offers sage advice, as mistakes and failure are part of success.

Points #5 and #9, however, may seem questionable to many. Surely some ideas require more than week of gestation. Not all activity is productive or even positive. An obsession with getting things done may inspire you to give up on your dreams and complete many tasks that are of little or no value. A manifesto cannot completely describe the best way for everyone to work.

Nevertheless, increased productivity leads to increased satisfaction, and there is power in the emotional impact of reaching a finish line. The thirteen points of The Cult of Done Manifesto are just advice, but building enthusiasm about working smarter is the first step to change. If you or your organization is ready to become more productive and move beyond slogans into actual transformations, contact Slaughter Development. We help companies and non-profit organizations channel enthusiasm for renewed productivity into new business process models and system implementations through committed engagements.

❖ ❖ ❖

Like this post? Here are some related entries from The Methodology Blog you might enjoy:

14 Tips to Motivate Employees - A recent article lists “14 Management Do’s and Don’ts to Motivate Employees.” Yet, unlike many opinion pieces on this topic, every one of the suggestions is fantastic advice.
Read on »
Workday Advice, Not Tips - Usually, productivity advice appears in the form of direct suggestions that seem impossible to implement. An article by Deborah Hildebrand of Office Arrow, however, contains some profound ideas. Read on »
Judging Your Own Day - Many of us have come home after work and have made a simple pronouncement: “I really had a productive day.” Or sometimes: “Wow, it feels like I got nothing done.” What’s the difference?
Read on »
Want to learn more? Register now for the 2011 Productivity Series

2 Responses to “Obsession with Done”

  1. John Uhri Says:

    This, like any other list, should be reviewed and adopted/adapted as appropriate to your situation. There are kernels of truth in the manifesto even if there are problems with individual items.

  2. Bnpositive Says:

    I agree with John. The list may be too much of an oversimplification of reality, but the truth for me lies in the idea that I’m over-analyzing and literally paralyzed with the notion of not being prepared, or the idea that might resulting work may not be exactly what I dream of it being. This manifesto has inspired me to just work on getting it done. Once I’ve reached that milestone, I can then go back and tweak and adjust in the areas that are needed. The things I’m “hung-up” on in my mind may be moot points with the client in their own mind. This is good to remember for me.

Leave a Reply

Switch to our mobile site