Productivity and GTD

The Key To Do The Work: Act And Reflect

AUTHOR: Francisco Sáez
Blog productivity

Steven Pressfield says in his book Do The Work, that the process of doing any creative work, as writing a book, composing a song, preparing a trip, developing a product or creating a company, consists basically of two stages: Act and reflect.

They are two stages which are constantly repeated and shouldn’t be performed at the same time. Act, reflect. Act, reflect. Act, reflect.

Acting means undertaking the job itself: writing, composing, programming, drawing, etc. Reflecting means evaluating what has being done until now and thinking about how to take on the work still to be done. Reflecting is key to learning, and it isn’t something you must necessarily do on your own. If you’re performing a project with a team or have a mentor or a coach, you will get a greater benefit if the reflection is made in their company.

Depending on the kind of job you’re undertaking, and on the stage it’s at, you should make a greater or lesser use for each of those stages.

When you’re just starting a creative project, you must act more and reflect less. This is to avoid that force that will, undoubtedly, try to sink your inner genius. “Are you crazy? Who is going to care about your work? ".

You are writing a draft, designing a prototype, testing… You still do not know how your creature is going to be, so you have to throw up everything you take inside on the paper—or the way that you use for this first phase. Follow your instinct and do not think too much. Now you do not want your possibilities and opportunities be diminished because of your doubts and prejudices. You want to see up to where your idea will take you.

Once you start, ongoing work generates its own energy to overcome that resistance and encourage you to continue. It is the law of inertia. The question now is how to use that momentum. Keep working, everyday, on a constant pace.

When the project is on its way, you must start balancing the acting and reflecting stages. Now is the time to think more and do less. Occasionally—at least once a week—you must stop and look up, to see that all you’re doing is taking you wherever you wanted to go. Along the way doubts, problems and options will arise and you’ll have to face them in order to continue and achieve success. Reflect. And act. Act and reflect.

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