The worst enemy of action

I have the pleasure of working with many leaders of medium and large companies around the world. And most of them are high performers. They’re very motivated people who really want to do well.  

But some of them are on the verge of being perfectionists. And I often hear them say, “Cyril, the thing is that if I do something, I need to do it well.”  

That’s all well and good.  

But there are a few problems there: 

First, aiming to do a perfect job is very time-consuming.  

Second, there’s a really fine line between being a perfectionist and a procrastinator.  

A perfectionist will say, “I can’t do it now perfectly. So, I’m going to do it later.” But that’s not sustainable. You always have much to do, especially if you are a perfectionist. 

Bonjour, this is Cyril from Work Smarter: Live Better. In this video, I want to share one simple tip that both save you time and also allow you to fight the big time-waster called ‘procrastination’

Instead of aiming for perfection, my suggestion is this:  

Work by draft. 

Just take action and do a first draft!

Now, your first draft might be terrible. But at least you already have your first draft… Which will allow you to create a second draft to improve it. And if you’re not happy with the second draft, then you create a third draft…  

And then another draft…  

And another.  

You can keep doing it until you get to what is known in the Agile methodology as the ‘minimum viable product’. This is about the minimum number of drafts you’ll create until you get a viable product.  

Maybe it’ll be up to three drafts or up to five drafts – it’s up to you.

To explain the idea of working by drafts better, think about how cars are made. Companies don’t make an amazing car straight away, right?  

Instead, they first create a prototype that is not perfect by any means. But at least everyone can have a look at it and give their ideas on how to improve it.  

And then, the manufacturers will create new prototypes until they develop an amazing car.

I must admit that I’m a bit of a perfectionist myself. I always had this mentality that if I do something, I need to do it well.  

But not anymore. I completely changed my mentality – I now work by drafts.  

So, if I have an important task to do, I tell myself, “Oh, I only have half an hour. Well, I’ll do a first draft.” It might turn out to be very bad, but at least I started. 

This is the mentality I had while I was writing my book. In fact, I know I would have never ever written and completed that book if not for it.  

You see, I started by writing the first draft of the first chapter… And it was bad!  

So, I made a second draft…  

And a third draft…  

I kept on creating new drafts until I went, “Oh, that’s good.” 

Then, I went on to write the draft of the second chapter and did the same thing – I kept working by drafts. And little by little, the book started appearing. I think it took me 16 drafts to get to my minimum viable product.  

This work by draft mindset completely changed my way of working. It saves me a lot of time and actually gets me started.

This is this week’s Work Smarter: Live Better tip: 

Work by drafts. 

So now, my question to you is, what are you procrastinating about now?  

Think about the things you are putting off doing because they are “too hard.” What can you create a first draft of in the next few days? 

You have a lovely day. 

A bientôt,


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