I’ve Joined a Cult!

Posted by Heather Villa, CMA, MBA, MSM on February 24, 2010 in: Project Management

cult-of-done-manifestoOkay, usually when you hear that, it’s not a good thing. One of the first things you think when someone says that is: “Don’t drink the Kool-Aid”. The second thing you think is “How do I get out of this conversation as quickly as possible before the person asks ME to join the cult, too?”


But trust me, this is a cult you’ll WANT to join.

Here’s how I stumbled upon this cult: I was totally looking for something else but I found this blog and thought: “yeah, I’m all over this, It’s called “the cult of done”. Two people – Bre Pettis and Kio Stark – wrote a manifesto about productivity. It’s simple and elegant. It’s just 13 points. And when you read them, you’ll be inspired! Oddly enough, they wrote it in just 20 minutes and I wonder if that time pressure added to its simplicity and elegance.

You can read the full blog, The Cult of Done Manifesto, but I’ve listed the 13 points below (in bold) and added my own comments afterward.

1. There are three states of being. Not knowing, action and completion. This is brilliant because it helps you identify what your Next Action is. If you don’t know, then your next action is to learn. If you know then your next action is action. And once you’ve taken enough actions, your next action is completion!

2. Accept that everything is a draft. It helps to get it done. This is great. Perfection is very challenging to attain and yet people strive for it all the time. Accepting this truth is so freeing.

3. There is no editing stage. Produce, publish, repeat. If everything is a draft, this makes it easier to embrace.

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 a humorous line that boils down to this: Charge ahead, even if you’re not sure, because you’ll figure out. The default should be always be action.

5. Banish procrastination. If you wait more than a week to get an idea done, abandon it. This one is tough to do! And I confess that I don’t follow this one because sometimes I like to let ideas simmer for a while. But the spirit of this idea holds true.

6. The point of being done is not to finish but to get other things done. This is an interesting one and I have to think about it a bit more. I understand what they are saying but I wonder if they’ve presented it too simplistically here.

7. Once you’re done you can throw it away. Uhh, okay I disagree with this for the most part. I have client work that is often done… and then needs to be revisted. But I think they are saying that completion should be a full state and that you shouldn’t only half-complete something but call it complete.

8. Laugh at perfection. It’s boring and keeps you from being done. This is true and resonates with some of the earlier points. Perfection is unattainable, which makes it laughable.

9. People without dirty hands are wrong. Doing something makes you right. You need to work to be a successful completer of something. And work means rolling up your sleeves and risking your manicure.

10. Failure counts as done. So do mistakes. I like this one! We can’t all be perfect all the time! If I do something and it falls flat, I can still cross it off my list as being done. Completion doesn’t necessarily mean success all the time (although it’s nice if it did now and then).

11. Destruction is a variant of done. This is interesting. I have to think about this one some more. Pulling something apart is an act of completion: I can see that if you learn something and are able to innovate as a result.

12. If you have an idea and publish it on the internet, that counts as a ghost of done. I suppose they are recommending that telling is different than doing. Fair enough. I think this is mainly true unless your goal is to publish something on the internet, of course!

13. Done is the engine of more. I love this! This is true! People with long lists of procrastinated work have growing lists of procrastinated work. My dad taught me an important lesson a long time ago: If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it. It’s true! Busy people may be busy but they are doing things!

If you like this list, check out the picture posted on Bre Pettis’ website, which is a printable poster with graphical representations of the tenets of the cult of done: Done Manifesto.

Join the cult!

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