Eat Dessert First
Knocking out task after task like a prize fighter can be exhilarating…
But sometimes “getting shit done” just doesn’t seem to happen, no matter how deep rooted the desire or urgent the task.
And what can you do to improve your productivity?
If you’re like me, productivity comes in waves. Increasingly large waves in my case – thanks, in part, to theories I’m putting into action such as learning how to read excuses, harnessing the unstoppable force, not being scared of failure and just do(ing) it – but it’s still waves nonetheless.
So, how is it that some people always seem to be on top of everything, juggling 15 balls at once, knocking every one of them out the park without skipping a beat? What are the secrets to getting it done and just how, exactly, are some people seemingly so damn prolific?
Eat dessert first.
That is to say, jump straight in to the bit that excites you most and then flesh out the details.
I first came across this approach in a Fast Company interview with Joss Whedon.
In it the Buffy The Vampire Slayer creator and prolific screenwriter, film and television producer, director, comic book author, composer and actor (I know, right…?), explains his process for getting things done:
Don’t just say, ‘Oh, I need to work on that.’ Say, ‘I need to work on this element of that.’ Absolutely eat dessert first. The thing that you want to do the most, do that…
…I used to write chronologically when I started, from beginning to end. Eventually I went, ‘That’s absurd; my heart is in this one scene, therefore I must follow it’…
He goes on to explain how the process of starting with dessert helps you achieve your goals:
…I always believe in just having as much fun as you can, so that when you’re in the part that you hate there’s a light at the end of the tunnel… you’re close to finished.
I love this approach. It just makes total sense to me. Sure, you still need to be mindful of failing to complete, and you’ll still need to employ discipline and focus to get through the tough, churn work, but as a shortcut to getting stuck in, it’s unparalleled.
Don’t be methodical. Don’t start at the beginning. Avoid the things that grind you down (at first). Instead, start with the bit you really, really wanted to do in the first place.
The bit that gets you most excited.
The rewarding bit.
Start with dessert.
Got something to add? Agree/disagree with anything I said? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.