I live by The Done Manifesto and You Should Too

person in green shirt wearing black knit cap

For as long as I can remember the phrase done is better than perfect has lived in my mind. It eventually became a sort of life motto of mine. One that I often shared with friends who struggled feeling good about the work they were doing. It always felt like a good motto to live by until my wife introduced me to a better one.

Done is the catalyst engine of more.

The Manifesto

The idea that really being done with something is more of a launch pad to a new project felt so right to me. I was then introduced to the whole manifesto which is:

  1. There are three stages of being: Not knowing, Action and Complete.
  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 the same as knowing what you are doing, so just accept that you know what you’re doing even when you don’t and do it.
  5. Banish procrastination.
  6. If you wait more than a week to get an idea done, abandon it.
  7. The point of being done is not to finish but to get other things done.
  8. Once you’re done you can throw it away.
  9. Laugh at perfection. It’s boring and keeps you from being done.
  10. People without dirty hand are wrong. Doing something makes you right.
  11. Failure counts as done. Do more mistakes.
  12. Destruction is a variant of done. If you have an idea and publish it on the internet that counts as done.

Done is the engine of more.

Created by Bre Prettis and Kio Stark and shared on Medium in 2016.

How does it help?

Let me break down the manifesto via three stages of being.

Will it Work?

This stage is one that can get many of us caught up and can cause us to procrastinate. It’s where you’re unsure about if things are even possible but the thing here is that it should really be just a place for you to produce ideas that motivate you to action.

Something I and many people struggle with is procrastination of those unknown ideas which is why we must banish procrastination for us to succeed.

Get to Work

This is the stage of being we should find ourselves in. It’s the stage we feel the most ourselves in. To help us stay there we really do need internalize the idea that everything is just a draft.

You see when thinking that it’s just a draft you’re not worrying about being a perfectionist. Worrying about everything being perfect is ultimate roadblock of finishing something. It will cripple you and you’ll struggle to achieve your goals. Remember to just laugh in its smug face and get back to work.

Once you’ve internalized the fact that everything is a “draft”. You’ll be more willing to accept jobs that you might not be fully ready for BUT remember pretending to know what you’re doing is just as good as knowing so just do it.

I can promise you that it really is as easy as that. There have been so many times when I’ve taken a job or project that was just a little over my head but in the process of just working on it and knowing that I’ll figure it out and that it’ll be good enough when done. I grew not only in skills but in trusting my ability.

Now, when you’re in the action stage you must remember that there is no editing stage after it’s complete. Getting caught up in that stage will result in perfectionism so when you hit that export or publish button. It’s done and time to move on. This is where I would tweak this wording. Instead of – once you’re done you can throw it away. I would change it to – once you’re done it only lives as a testimony to your growth.

Being Done

Ah, the feeling of being done. The dopamine hit that comes from hitting publish. One of my favorite things on this earth for sure. This is where if you try something and it fails. It means you’re done.

Does it may mean that you suck? Hell no! It means you’re pushing your boundaries. It means you have more projects to work on to get better and can come back and do another draft of that project later.  Remember the point of being done is to get more things done and the more things we get done. The better we get.

Hit That Publish Button

I don’t proclaim to be perfect at this. In fact, you can look at many of my creative outlets and see that I don’t publish as much as I want too. I tend to forget to laugh in perfections smug face.

What I can say is that when I live by this manifesto, I am energized, happier, and excited about my work and life. Its principles are key to enjoying the journey rather than obsessing over results.

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