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.