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Slow to Flow

Premature Completers

Embracing idleness to fend off mediocrity. You should try it.

By Rebekah Radice

5 min read

At the end of each week, we stop to share some insights on slowing down to find our flow. We’re about to reach a pivotal moment at Hey Rebekah. You know, the one where multiplying forces are supposed to converge into a productivity paradise.

We keep fighting the urge to join a group of premature completers—more on this later. The work is piling up and there doesn’t seem to be enough time to get it all done.

Yet, that’s the key right there and one of the biggest traps we can fall into.

Prematurely completing tasks while accepting mediocrity vs. taking the time to build a world-class experience for our community. Even if it takes a $#!t ton of iterations to get there.

But wait a minute, if there’s never enough time to get the work done, what about a break for ourselves?

As creators, we tend to underestimate the value of that downtime.

The grind wears us down. We lose steam and our work begins to suffer. It's like trying to dribble a basketball that’s losing air. 🫠

Our work is our product and it should be delightful. It’s where excellence, creativity, and quality converge.

So how do we make sure the work we do is consistently top-notch?

Embracing idleness

A space battle between genius and mediocrity in the style of Rockstar Games

To create works of delight, we have to overcome the mighty power of average-ness. Mediocrity sucks.

That doesn’t mean we need to default to the impractical pursuit of perfection either. Excellence in our work product is the goal we should shoot for.

What’s the secret to making your work standout like a unicorn at a horse show?

If there was one magical answer to this question, we’d all be crushing it. It takes experimentation, practice, and discipline to find your flow. Here’s how I found mine:

Underpromise as a service

I start by taking the time to understand what I’m expected to do. More often than not, there isn’t enough detail for me to jump right in. I fill in the gaps with follow-up questions and make sure I’m starting off right.

It sounds tedious, but it’s a process I follow for almost every task. It helps avoid the even more tedious scope creep later.

A balancing act

We offer 3 kinds of services. GOOD, CHEAP, FAST. But you can pick only two. GOOD and CHEAP won't be FAST. FAST and GOOD won't be CHEAP. CHEAP and FAST won't be GOOD.

I’ve been a part of agile development for a long time. The best practices are laser-etched into my brain. The good thing is agile doesn’t just apply to software. You can steal productivity hacks from agile development methodology. Here's how I do it:

I align expectations by estimating the effort right on the task. I play a game of hybrid poker planning every Monday. I use a simple 1 to 5 scoring method representing hours. 🃏

Anything above a 5 needs to be broken down further.

With most of my tasks estimated, I can get a quick birds eye view of when I’m overloaded. I usually have 177 hours of effort that has to get done by tomorrow, because Ambreen says so.

Sound familiar?

Quality and iteration FTW

I use due dates as a guideline for priority. If there’s a hard deadline, then of course I’ll treat it as such. But that’s when another important discussion happens. I ask which of the other 31 things I should sacrifice to the deadline gods. 🙈

It’s all in the details

Pay attention to the little things. What are you being asked to do? Then, go ahead and do it.

When you’re done, double check your work. Remember like we used to do in 4th grade algebra? Revisit the scope to make sure you haven’t missed anything. I can’t tell you how many times I overlooked something because I wasn’t paying attention. Finally, before I mark it complete, I make sure I love it!

Otherwise, what’s the point?

Time equals power

When it comes to doing high quality work, time is your best friend. The pursuit of excellence is not a sprint, it’s a marathon.

The more time you give to your work, the more power it will have. This is a hard balancing act to master and an ongoing struggle because our creative lead wants what she wants when she wants it. 🤷🏽‍♂️

For me, it’s one of the most important skills to focus on. This goes hand-in-hand with effective communication.

We have a natural desire to please people. Fight the urge. Remember to underpromise as a service. You’ll end up pleasing your client and yourself in a more predictable way.

Mediocrity is always in a rush

Be careful of the busy vs. productive illusion. There’s a difference between checking things off a list vs. getting the right things done, right.

Avoid mediocrity like someone sneezing in an elevator.

Genius is just doing things well

Genius is not about being born with a magic wand. It's about taking the time to do something to the best of your ability. Even the simplest task, if done well, can be a work of genius.

So there you have it, a peek into my agile development-inspired productivity habits. Hit me up with a reply because I’d love to hear yours.

Rebekah Radice

About Rebekah Radice

Rebekah Radice, co-founder of BRIL.LA, has traded narcissism for purpose. When not driving growth, you'll find her tricking family into thinking she's Emeril Lagasse - likely covered in marinara. The spotlight was fun, but impact is better. These days she's using 20+ years of brand brilliance for good.