I recently rediscovered the Manifesto of Done, an ode to getting things ticked off. It’s a little old now, but if you haven’t seen it then I would thoroughly recommend giving it a read. The emphasis is on getting things done, rather than worrying that what you’re creating isn’t perfect. Whether the product of self-doubt, the hallmark of a perfectionist, or even the bureaucracy of work going across multiple eye-balls doesn’t matter: the point is that soon you lose sight of getting something done and instead worry and fuss and lose energy on something that was meant to be quick.
Before everyone gets up in arms and suggests that this Manifesto breeds half-cocked ideas and poor strategy then, honestly, I’d agree. And ultimately it’s up to the individual to establish what can follow the rules of Done, and what genuinely needs a little more thinking time. Projects, client work, and strategic thinking should take time: discussing across project teams; going over the data one more time; refining and honing your story. Outside of these things though, there are lots of areas that should be quick to do.
The point is that this Manifesto has been a timely reminder for me. At Kadence we’ve been going through a few changes, and with those have come a new strategy and vision for Kadence Singapore: to raise the impact of market research in the region. It’s our belief that research in Asia currently doesn’t get the voice and the gravitas it deserves and we want to change that, striving to help our clients make better, more informed decisions.
That vision, whilst it sounds easy, took a lot of work. A lot of discussions, and debates, and thinking time – none of which falls underneath the Manifesto of Done. With that vision in place, though, everything else that follows is the tactical implementation of it – and that most certainly should adhere to the rules of Done.
One of the ways we’re looking to raise the impact of market research is to raise our profile through blogs – like this one – and social media such as LinkedIn; plus, we’re implementing our own research studies. Going from nearly zero marketing output to a multi-channel approach is a little unnerving, but this is where the Manifesto of Done really comes into its own.
It’s easy to spend time labouring over a post or an article or an idea, waiting to make sure all the thoughts are in, giving yourself just an extra day to reach perfection. Except that that’s the completely wrong idea: you have to accept that one blog post, one update, or one tweet isn’t going to deliver your vision, so it’s okay for it to not be perfect. But being consistent in your output, generating a pattern of delivery and impact, that is something that does matter. Ultimately, getting something done is far more productive than procrastinating over getting it perfect. Once again, this doesn’t count for everything. Projects and client work and broader strategic thinking should and do take time. but the tactical manifestation of an idea shouldn’t. In the words of the Manifesto, ‘if you wait more than a week to get an idea done, abandon it.’
Getting something done allows you to move on, to tackle something new. It also frees up space in your mind, as to consider something done allows you mentally to let go. The point is that all too often we fall into the trap of needing to make things perfect that should be quick tasks. Not only does this hold us back from getting things done, it bogs us down in the small things, rather than freeing us up to focus on the elements that should matter the most. And while this post may not be perfect, at least it’s done.