It’s Not About What You Do. It’s About What You DON’T Do.

“Some day your life will flash before your eyes — make sure it’s worth watching”

One big lesson I learned from filmmaking is that the editing actually makes the difference. Meaning cutting scenes, deciding how to play a dialogue or leaving out entire parts of the actual story. It gives the movie the extra spice.

This is not only true for filmmaking but for erverything we create or work on. No matter if it’s a movie, article, book, online product or a whole company. Deciding what NOT to do makes a huge difference. It makes a headline crip, a user experience better, your meetings more productive and your life richer.

The concept is simple. Putting it into place not. Usually we feel emotionally involved when we create stuff or work with people we know. The time and effort we have invested makes us affected and blind. Here are three things I use to keep my focus and cut the bullshit out of my work and life.

1. Find Your Advocatus Diaboli

Everyone has an Avocatus Diaboli. This is usually the person who you don’t like to call right away and ask for feedback — because they are actually pretty clear about what they think.

Adocatus Diaboli feedback is the opposite of the dangerous “friendly family & friends feedback

What you want is a critial opinion on your work. You don’t want a fundamental discussion that mighty questions you as a founder, filmmaker or author — wathever your passion might be. You need someone who helps you to get emotionally detached to avoid your creator excesses. That’s all

2. Review Everything After The First Round

Don’t be afraid to give up the good for the great — John D. Rockefeller

Again in filmmaking there is a very helpful editing rule: once you have your first version of the movie you look through the hole content once again. What usually happens is that you come up with a second but better version of your movie. It’s shorter, crisper and stronger since you are not as emotional as before. This rule applies for all kind of prototypes. Question everything, don’t be afraid to “kill your darlings” and start over again. Steve Jobs was known for blowing up complete development teams when he thought their product was shit.

3. Use The Lifetime Timer

This is an idea that I came up with after seeing the movie “Just in Time”. In that movie “time” is the universal currency, which people have genetically engeneered in their arms and pay with. It counts years, months, days, hours, minutes and seconds backwards. Once the timer hits zero, they “run out of time” and die. So for example: let´s assume you are 33 years old reading this post and you may turn 85 one day. Than this is your lifetime timer down here — it’s not a million days!

I have this countdown on my phone as an app. It’s not very comfortable to calculate but it helps me to stay away from unecessary stuff or work that does not generate any value to me. It reminds me that every second counts and that I neither want to take away my own nor other people’s precious time. It helps me focussing on the work that I love doing and the stuff that I love creating.

It’s the best tool I know so far that helps me to decide what I DON’T want to do.

Thanks for reading. If youlike this post let me know and give me a recommendation below. I’m also happy to discuss with you in the comments or via Twitter (@cmagnussen). You can also find me on Instagram and christophmagnussen.com.

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