Do It Once

“I don’t do more, but less, than other people. They do all their work three times over: once in anticipation, once in actuality, once in rumination. I do mine in actuality alone, doing it once instead of three times.”
— Henry Ward Beecher
When you begin a task, start it in actuality. Focus your energy into getting it done. Concentrate on your end and you will surely attain it. I do not suggest that you skip the planning phase. I do suggest that you skip the anticipation phase, that phase often included in planning where you live out in your mind the entire development process. You do not know in advance what problems you will encounter, so skip the anticipation and get started. The human mind can make decisions very well on the fly if it has a clear goal to focus on. Spend your planning time defining that clear goal and outlining a path that you believe in to get you there, then get started. Remember to work persistently so that you can successfully attain your goal.

I don’t do more, but less, than other people. They do all their work three times over: once in anticipation, once in actuality, once in rumination. I do mine in actuality alone, doing it once instead of three times. – Henry Ward Beecher

After planning your next project, start it in actuality. Focus your energy into getting it done. Skip the anticipation phase—that phase that often happens right after planning where you live out in your mind the entire development process. You do not know in advance what problems you will encounter, so skip the anticipation, the mulling over all the potential problems and what you will do in the event any of them happen. Just get started. The human mind can make decisions very well on the fly if it has a clear goal to focus on. Do not waste time beforehand anticipating things that do not end up happening. Spend your planning time defining that clear goal and outlining a path that you believe in to get you there, then get started. Work persistently so that you can successfully attain your goal.  Concentrate on your end and you will surely attain it.

After you finish the project, stand back for a moment and admire the end result. Discuss the lessons learned. Then move on to the next project. If you must publish a report of on your work, do not spend endless hours going over all the details of the project. Do not create a massive report that takes weeks to complete. Summarize your results and the lessons learned and publish a short report on it. Most likely nobody will read your report anyway, and for sure nobody will read a long report. Use your valuable time to start the next great project.

Do more by doing less. Do more productive work by doing each piece of work one time.

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One thought on “Do It Once

  1. I really like this post. Too often I spend hours in a state of anxiety, fretting over something I have to do.

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