What's this, Andy?
The Cult of Done Manifesto is a set of 13 "rules" for any creative (or not-so-creative) work or good that must be done on a deadline, including, but not limited to coding, writing, painting and designing. They were written by Bre Pettis and Kio Stark in 20 minutes ("because we only had 20 minutes to get it done"). The underlying idea is that prefectionism can be harmful and the fear of failing can be counterproductive.
However, these rules are far from being perfect. Whenever these are presented, there will be someone who will protest (and with good reason) that these rules are only a recipe for churning mediocre work and can be detrimental to whoever does the work and whoever consumes it. I think that it's a very valid point.
Therefore, I will add to these what I think is the zeroth rule: always do your best, strive for your highest quality. I think that the authors of this Manifesto had in mind someone who will commit to him/herself first and assumed that these rules are meant for people who have that old-fashioned (but still very present) sense of honor to oneself and to others via high-quality work of any kind.
In the end, I assume you're all intelligent beings capable of judging whether this Manifesto can help you or not. I assume that you're intelligent enough to reject what is useless to you.
Note: I'm not putting here for the sake of arguing whether these rules are useful or not. I'm aware of the controversy and I'm not presenting these as the panacea of productivity. The actual rules are in bold, my own interpretation of the rules is in plain text.
The Cult of Done Manifesto
- 1. There are three states of being. Not knowing, action and completion.
- If you don't know how to do something, you're already in the process of doing it. Learn by doing.
- 2. Accept that everything is a draft. It helps to get it done.
- There will always be something to correct, something that could be perfected, added or deleted. It can always be better, but don't let that stop you from actually completing things
- 3. There is no editing stage.
- The process of editing something should not be a discrete and limited stage in which work gets a vacation, because inertia may keep it there forever.
- 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.
- Not knowing how to do something can be one of the biggest hurdles to creating something and it's not very different from knowing (in several cases, "knowing" is just remembering something like a procedure). Just get to do things like you already know. Related to Fake it 'til you make it
- 5. Banish procrastination. If you wait more than a week to get an idea done, abandon it.
- Ideas that sit too long on the mind get stale and can get in the way of having more, probably better ideas. Either do it or trash it, don't let it become mental clutter.
- 6. The point of being done is not to finish but to get other things done.
- Related to #3: Don't rest on your laurels. Keep your "doing" inertia.
- 7. Once you're done you can throw it away.
- If it's done, it's done. Don't dwell on the thought that it could be better because it will distract you from doing more (and if it needs to be perfected, accept that it's not done and get back to it)
- 8. Laugh at perfection. It's boring and keeps you from being done.
- Trying to make "the perfect work" will take all your time and you'll never be done. Push your limits, but don't waste your time with an unrealistic goal.
- 9. People without dirty hands are wrong. Doing something makes you right.
- Those who haven't done things only know the textbook version of something, which rarely happens. Those who have done things know better.
- 10. Failure counts as done. So do mistakes.
- If you've made mistakes is because you've done something before. Doing (mistakes) gives you experience and expertise. Don't be afraid of mistakes, they will happen
- 11. Destruction is a variant of done.
- Don't keep things around just because they're already there. If it's outdated, if it's incorrect, if it's been proven wrong, if it no longer suits, destroy it. Improve the overall quality by taking out what doesn't fit.
- 12. If you have an idea and publish it on the internet, that counts as a ghost of done.
- Mark Zuckerberg didn't get rich because he wrote blog posts of his ideas on a "social network". Talking without doing is just gloating.
- 13. Done is the engine of more.