Do It Wrong

This is a brain hack I’ve been using on myself for the past year.

Sometimes the hardest part of a task is just starting. If I’m not exactly sure how something needs to be done, I’ll most likely procrastinate it. Fear of failure or being overwhelmed can make me escape to YouTube for a couple hours. Usually I haven’t even explored what the task is on deep level yet, so my brain assumes the worst.

The solution: Do it wrong.

Go in with the intention of writing nonsense answers, writing the world’s worst code, or a terrible blog post.

Don’t submit that wrong work, of course. This is just the ice breaker.

The point of doing it wrong is to get you to engage with the task in a low-stakes way. By doing it wrong you still make progress. If it gets me to read the directions and see what the task actually requires, it’s a win. It’s how I overcome the beginning stages of perfectionism.

It’s similar to Anne Lamott’s Shitty First Drafts. She recommends you write two intentionally shitty pages per day, because that’s how you eventually get to the good drafts.

So whatever you’ve been putting off, go ahead and do the worst version of it right now. You’ll have fun doing it and see that the task probably wasn’t as bad as you thought.

Update June 6th, 2023 One of my favorite YouTubers, Struthless, put out a video echoing this same sort of philosophy.