Photo by Phad Pichetbovornkul on Unsplash

The Formula is Doing Work.

I don’t believe in hacks anymore.

Ideas that sound like “10 Shortcuts You Need to Be Doing Right Now to Make More $$$ and Complete All of the Work” are certainly attractive. The problem is that they’re a lie- listicles that promise the world and never deliver.

You’d be crazy not to want ‘it’, whatever the secret knowledge is. The thing “only they’ve discovered and will now monetize to you in the form of a book, seminar or software.”

But it’s snake-oil-salesmanship, wrapped up in productivity language and shipped to the detriment of you actually getting work done.

The idea that there’s some magic combination of tools, systems and ideas that gets you “more” (whatever “more” is for you: money, followers, fame, control) is compelling. The problem is that it’s just not true.

I’ve wasted plenty of time and money on those things. Guess what? It’s never gotten an article written or project done faster. If anything, I waste time trying to implement whatever the new secret knowledge is. And then it’s 2 a.m., and I’m behind schedule, looking for the next new thing that will save me from the mountain of work that’s piled up.

I don’t think we can side-step the fact that sometimes work just isn’t fun. Sometimes we have to push through and complete tasks that we’d rather skip in order to get to the really good stuff.

Can we work smarter? Absolutely. That’s worth the conversation. (I hate transcribing for interviews, I’d rather use Rev where economically feasible). But there is no substitute for doing the work.

Showing up. Staring at the blank page. Making something out of nothing. Writing, editing, coding, whatever. You cannot automate the vastness of the beginning. You cannot outsource the creative process and expect it to have meaning. The formula is doing work.