5 Steps To Doing Things Right The First Time

Do Things Right The First Time

Do Things Right The First Time

I wrote a blog post yesterday about doing things right the first time and so I thought maybe I should write a very prescriptive outline of how to actually do things right the first time.

1. Pick The Right Things

Pick the RIGHT things to do. This means prioritize correctly and choose things that truly matter. If you are having a hard time doing this, make a list of the top 10 things you need to do, and then prioritize them.

Lifehacker posted a really great article about how to prioritize when everything is important. Check it out if you are looking for a good list of ways to prioritize. In other words, prioritization is the first step to doing things right the first time.

2. Take Your Time

It is so easy to rush through your to-do list or the activities that you have prioritized. Instead of rushing, take a huge deep breath and slow down.

Sometimes, after drinking a nice cup of coffee, it might be really hard to slow down to do things right. But you will be surprised how a little extra thought goes a long way.

So how do you do this? Next time you have a task, once you have completed the task, take some extra time to completely review your work and go over it with a fine tooth comb. Even if it is something you do every day or that you are an expert in, review anyways.

The extra time that you spend reviewing your work will help you increase the quality. It’s kind of like reading a text message for a second time before you send it. You usually end up finding something you can edit before sending it off!

3. Do Your Research

I cannot tell you the importance of research  in order for doing things right the first time. Research has so many forms.

  1. Hit up Google, Bing, and Yahoo and search for 3-4 keywords related to your topic.
  2. Talk to your family, coworkers, and people on social media. Everyone has an opinion.
  3. Read journal publications and articles from credible sources such as Harvard University.

For example, if you want to write a good blog post or set up your blog right the first time, why not do your research. This blogger wrote an awesome post on how to do exactly that so why not take tips from people who post about it which leads me to my next point.

4. Consult With Experts

You may have heard the statement as a kid, “Practice makes perfect.” Well, according to Wisdom Group, it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert in anything.

So if you want to do something really well and you want to do it right, reach out to an expert in whatever you want to get done. For example, if I wanted to become an expert wake boarder, I might reach out to the best wake boarders in the Pacific Northwest that might be able to point me in the right direction.

Finding the right expert could be a whole blog post in itself, but the point is to find someone who has put in the time, research, and practice to be an expert in a specific area. It could be as easy as tweeting to them on Twitter, sending them a package, or reaching to them with a video post. Think of a unique way to capture their attention.

5. Validate Your Work

Consult with people that you are doing things right. For example, if you need to paint an accent wall, why not talk to everyone you know about painting a wall and how to do it right. Then once you’ve actually done the work, have some review your work and critique the work you’ve done.

The best way to do this is to consult with one of the experts you previously consulted with and ask for them to critique your work. I am going to do that with my blog and with the work I do in my every day life.

One entrepreneur once told me, “Find someone who is doing something better than you and copy them.” So if you want to be really good at something, break down how someone else is doing it so you can understand it. Then replicate it.

Most importantly though, make sure you follow up on the feedback and constructive criticism so you can continue doing things right the first time. As you learn this process you will start to figure out how to do quality work.

Stay Open To Everything

Always stay open to everything. Change is hard, but change is good. Fail fast and fail often. The more you make mistakes, the more you can learn and grow for the next opportunity. Keeping your eyes open is so important in doing things right the first time. Focus on open doors and you will find success.

Remember, it’s all a mindset! So what do you think? Am I onto something or is this “complete rubbish” as my Australian friends would say. Leave me a comment below because I want to hear what you think!

Doing things right the first time instagram

Soak Up Opportunities To Learn

Have you ever met someone who wants to learn something new every day?

The question than is how do you set yourself up to learn something new?  Well, you have to have an open mind and always be ready and willing to learn something when the opportunity arrives.

Ask Questions

Always ask questions to open the door to people explaining something. It never hurts to ask questions and always be eager to learn.

To be successful in life, business, and relationships, asking the right questions is certainly one way to get there.

How are you helping other people think when you ask the right questions? I remember a story about a friend telling me about a PhD psychology program and the final exam had one question on it. The question was “why?” and gradate students had an two hours to answer the question.

At first, you might think that the correct answer is some philosophical answer to the meaning of life. But the professor was looking for his students to think outside of the box and interpret the question in their own way. The student who got the best grade, how did he answer? He answered with the simple question, “Why not?”

The ingenuity of this response has started many intriguing conversations ever since I heard about this story.

Self Start Learning

Change is hard. People like the easy path. But in order to really learn, you have to start things yourself. Being a self-starter is a quality that those people who frequently learn.

Something I recently had a difficult time with was learning about was SEO and how the major search engines have updated their algorithms for ranking high in search engines. In other words, if I want to search for the best motorcycle review, what determines the first page that I see in the search results after the advertisements.

Google searches only get you so far, so I looked to podcasts. These podcasts, or mini online radio shows, are a great way to learn something new. You can go to iTunes and look up popular podcasts in a certain category. You can even go to an app called Stitcher and find podcasts that might align with your interests.

Listening Helps You Learn

In all areas of life, if you just listen, you will come to realize that you can learn a lot. Just listen to people. People like to talk. After you listen to people, listen more.

Just don’t hear what they say, and focus on what you want to say. Intently listen to what they say, how they say it, and their body language.

If you can’t see them because you are  on the phone or listening to a podcast, then hear the fluctuations in their voice and do your best to make an emotional connection to the words they are speaking.

Read! Learners are Readers!

Not that long ago I really didn’t like reading. In fact, during my entire college career I don’t think I read an entire book. (If you are one of my professors, reading this, don’t worry I always listened in class!)

So if you don’t like to read, why is reading still important or what can you do? Well, I also found out about audiobooks. Guess what, you can buy an audiobook and someone will read it to you! Once I found out about these, I became addicted to reading books. Most people have heard about Audible, but if you havent, check them out!

They are a really cool company that host a lot of great books on audio which you can download immediately after you buy the book. You can even subscribe to their membership service and receive an audiobook of your choice EVERY month!

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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.

Knowledge Is Power

knowledge is power david goecke

knowledge is power david goecke

I will never forget my my 7th grade Social Studies teacher, Mr. Mitchell. He graded all of our essays in thick red ink and taught us to think on a global scale. He had this thick laugh that resonated throughout the halls with a sense of authority and command.

“Knowledge Is Power” Tee-shirts

Mr. Mitchell liked to be the best at everything. Part of that was teaching 7th grade students to think about the world around them. Another part of that was coaching the Academic Bowl team. I will never forget the dark blue tee-shirts that had our middle school logo on the front left corner–an emblem that represented the school we attended. However, even more noticeable was the bright letters on the back of our shirts in big bold font, “Knowledge Is Power.”

At the time, my shy self thought nothing of the tee-shirt. To me it was just another quote written on the back of a shirt. It was a free piece of clothing that I could proudly display my dedication to my middle school. I had a half a dozen shirts for all the other activities I was involved in so this would sit in my dresser next to all the other shirts. I remember that the sizes were all too big for us so anytime I wore the shirt, it was an over sized mess.

Knowledge Is Everything

Now that I am reflecting upon those experiences in the 7th grade, I realize that knowledge is everything. Perhaps that is obvious but let me be very specific. Who you know is way more important than what you know. But extended one degree, the people who know the people that you know are the most important.

People Are Power

If i were to make another tee-shirt that more accurately reflected my current day view on knowledge, they would say “People Are Power.” In other words, it is not necessarily general knowledge that holds power; it is relationships that are truly everything. So who are the people that you know and how are they influencing the way you think, the way you act, and the future paths you will travel?

Influence Your Peers

Jim Rohn said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”  In the 7th grade, we would have called this peer pressure and the academic circles always painted peer pressure in a negative light. “Don’t get peer pressured to try drugs, steal, do wrong” etc. But I challenge you to pressure your peers to step up their game and surround themselves with influential people.

Mr. Mitchell taught me to think and to intelligently express those thoughts in my own words. Even though he tore apart my essays with his red pen he taught me that knowledge is power. Even though I did not understand the importance of the concept in the 7th grade, this simple message sticks with me today. Surround yourself with the right people.

Take Baby Steps Toward Real Progress

baby steps on beach white pure

baby steps on beach white pure

I’ll be very transparent; what was I thinking with this whole 365 blog posts in a year? This is a whole lot harder than I thought! So here’s what’s on my mind. After this blog post, I’ll be 2 blog posts behind and that’s before tomorrow. To be caught up I would need to then write 4 blog posts by tomorrow evening to be right on track.

I Even Wrote A Post About Planning!

That’s right. I even wrote a post about planning ahead of time which helps prevent fear by acting against fear. So what am I afraid of? Well writing is hard. Finding the right images to go with my post is even harder. So maybe part of my planning needs to include a routine time when I can write my blog posts.

Start With Baby Steps

In order to plan a routine, make a habit, and truly change behavior you have to start with something super small. As adults, we walk normally and do not even think twice about walking. But there was a time when we were a baby and had to take each and every step extremely slowly.

So why not return to that state of infancy and care. Why not take a small baby step toward the right direction and before I know it, I’ll be walking and perhaps even running in the right direction. Each step in the right direction is a step in the right direction, right?

Focus On Each Step, Not The Marathon

Running a marathon is not about all 26.2 miles on the day of the race. It is about day in and day out of preparation through training. On the day of the race, the marathon is about taking each step toward accomplishing your goal. You cannot focus on the overwhelming 26 miles that you have to run. Instead, you have to focus on each and every step that will help you get to where you want to go.

So routines are kind of like marathons. You have to plan for them, train consistently, and focus on every step that helps you get to your goal.

Get Started!

It is so true, getting started is half the battle. Once you start something, the momentum it took to start up will continue and carry you through the majority of the task. For me, writing is a way to clear my mind and express myself through written words. Eventually I want to continue providing value to a larger reader base. Practicing this writing will get me one step closer to that goal. One day, I want to speak to a 100,000 people in a stadium on personal growth, personal finance, and business.

The awesome thing about baby steps is that you can change direction really easily. When you are running, it might be hard to take a sharp turn. But if you are walking slowly or very intently, you can easily pivot and turn if you need to. The same is true with goals. If you are heading toward a goal, and reach an obstacle all you have to do is take a baby step in the right direction. Reflection and feedback is a great way to understand when to take the next turn.