Do Things Right The First Time

I’ve warned you, stream of consciousness post.


I’m glad you asked. Although it seems obvious, too many times I observe people like to take the “quick and dirty” route. They want to get something done but they don’t want to take the time it takes to do it right.

What Happens?

You probably already know, but the job ends up being done incomplete or with poor quality. So if you have to waste cycles re-doing the work, why didn’t you do it right the first time?

Great Question!

They didn’t do it right the first time because maybe somebody said, “Just jump in and get started.” Or perhaps, they wrote a blog post about Tackling The Hard Things First and well, maybe that hard thing was simply an item to check off your “to-do” list.

Why Not Jump In Head First?

I’m not saying it’s bad to jump in and get started right away. What I am saying, however, is that if you can take a little bit of extra time invested up front, that you could potentially avoid more headache in the future.

It’s really just a leverage game. What future wasted time can you save by doing things right the first time?

Don’t Go To The Extreme

So some people might go to the extreme and try to build a process for everything. They might want to do everything perfectly right the first time. If you live in this type of world trying to always do it right the first time, you will live in quite the difficult life.

One particularly great example of this is when a software developer engineers a process to automate a piece of code when it could have taken 1/10th the time to just  code it themselves. However, sometimes there might be a false expectation that you may need to code this process again so a large effort goes into automating a task.

The downfall to this is that you may have spent 10x longer doing something to make it more efficient in the future, but if you don’t plan to use the new process or that new thing at least 10 times, then the initial investment is a waste.

Balance. Balance. Balance.

The trick here is to balance between quality and time. How much quality can you have given limited resources and limited time. I am continuing to learn that it’s better to invest resources, time and energy into something of higher quality, then to build and use something very cheap but have to replace it more frequently.

Quality comes at a price and often that benefit is not immediate. However with patience and extra upfront effort, the investment could be worth your time more times than you think!

What Do You Think?

I’d love to hear of a time when YOU managed something effectively with an upfront investment that ended up working out in the long run.

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It’s nice outside. I have tons to do today. But I made a commitment to blog at least 365 times this year so I wanted to write about something many people don’t think about or give a lot of importance to.

Why Planning?

Perhaps too many people use the phrase strategic planning when they are building a business, at work, or setting goals. The truth is simple, planning helps set you up for success. But there’s also a balance to the amount of time you spend planning versus actually doing actual work.

The reason I’m thinking about planning is that I recently had a 1:1 lunch with the founder of a local consulting firm and one of the key learning was about planning. This is one of the best ways to overcome fear is to plan action.

“Fear Is The Simply The Anticipation Of Pain”

Think about it. What are you most afraid of? Are you afraid of the dark? Are you afraid of snakes? What about heights?

It’s not actually the fear itself, it’s the pain that you might have which is associated to that fear. Is there a scary intruder or viscous monster in the dark? Will that snake actually bite and poison you? Will you fall off the height and die?

So then what exactly are you afraid of?

Action Overcomes Fear

So now that you know what you are afraid of, acting directly in response to that fear is the best way to overcome the fear. For example, turn on the lights and check all your closets for monsters. Talk to a snake owner about the dangers of snakes and venomous creatures. Secure yourself when on top of a skyscraper or a tall mountain.

So what exactly is my point? These are really simply examples of fears; however, doing something immediately response to those fears will help you overcome them. Now, these might relate to innate fears we have as humans against dangerous creatures (like fictitious closet monsters) or fear of the unknown (like what is exactly at the bottom of the ocean).

But take an every day fear like the fear of confrontation, fear of speaking, fear of failure, fear of success, fear of family, fear of relationships. Most of these fears are simply anticipating pain related to those fears. So if you acted in a direct way to those fears, you could overcome and reduce the pain associated with your fear.

Planning Helps You Act

Action is hard. Planning takes time. But setting yourself up in preparation to conquer your fears is the best way to overcome them. So many people undervalue planning, myself included, that when the moment comes for them to shine, they are not ready. When it comes to fear, if they aren’t prepared to act, they experience the pain.

Once the pain point occurs, the fear is greatly lessened and learning occurs. If a mistake happened, then there is opportunity for growth. If success occurred, then reflection and enjoyment occurs.

Maybe this is a long way of saying “plan more to overcome your fears.” And being purposeful about life by planning and setting goals is one path to living a more fulfilled life.

What Do You Think?

If you got this far, than these types of conversations probably spark your interest and you like to think about them. Why not share those thoughts here? Looking forward to hearing what thoughts people are thinking in the comments below!