Be More Productive By Committing In Public
We’re going to talk about productivity and I’m going to show you a method that I used to increase it 10x! I’m not going to discuss the massive and general subject of productivity— I want to share one specific piece of advice with you, and that is COMMITTING IN PUBLIC. This is something that has helped me out a lot in my past 10-15 years of development and I didn’t notice at first that I was doing this.
It all started when I got an opportunity to live in California. I had lived in California in my early years and I moved to Florida to visit my dad for a little while when I was 18 or 19. At the time, I got an opportunity with a company. My dad knew one of the guys that ran the place and he said, “Hey, we need a web developer and it’s a live-in position.” The company was into property development at the time and they told me, “Hey, if you do our websites for each one of our properties, we’ll give you a free place to stay.” I was like, “That’s great!”, because these places were awesome.
They were high-end lofts and it was my dream to move into one of those places. In L.A., the rent was two or three grand a month and as an 18 year old kid just visiting, I didn’t have that kind of cash to spend. So I said, “Yes.”
Here’s the twist: I had no idea how to make websites. I took the position, I committed to the guy, said yes I can make websites BUT I HAD NO IDEA HOW TO MAKE WEBSITES. I had a week to learn how to make websites, and I had to get my ass into every tutorial, every forum, everything that I could possibly imagine. I had to do it.
I had dabbled in HTML before and I could probably bullshit my way through talking to somebody. However, I’ve never built a website from scratch at that point, and it was scary. Then a couple years later, someone said to me, “Hey, you do websites?” because I became good at websites and at different content management system systems, and stuff. They were like, “Hey, you’re really good with websites why don’t you help us out with SEO.” I was like, “Totally. I can do SEO. Let’s do this.”
I had never done SEO in my life. I had about a week to figure it out I just jumped in. I got shit done by the deadline and everybody was super impressed. They’re like, “Oh dude, you’re one of the best SEO guys we ever worked with.” I didn’t know what I was doing and I had to learn all the stuff as I went.
My point is this: The fastest way to learn that stuff was committing to someone that I cared about in public. And people that you care about is the first key because if you don’t give a shit what a certain person thinks about you, if you commit to someone you hate, it’s not going to matter.
I committed to people I legitimately did not want to let down. I cared about these people. I didn’t want to let that guy down and that was enough to keep me on the hook to figure shit out and get it done.
The second part is to have a definitive goal. My goal in that case was to learn how to get this person’s website to the top 10 of Google for a specific keyword. Since there was a very specific goal, I didn’t need to learn everything about SEO.
I could never do that in the time that I had, but I had a goal and I learned everything I could about that specific process. Same thing with web design. I didn’t try to learn everything there was about web development, I was just trying to make one website for them, or fix their current website, or whatever problems they had with it.
I had always been working on games on and off throughout that whole period, but when I really got back into games later on, I realized that I had some of the same issues that I had before. The games I develop are very personal to me and I didn’t really want to show people. I was scared of what people would say or what their opinions would be.
To recap, here are the parts of Committing in Public:
- Commit to people that you care about and respect.
- Have a definite goal or a concrete thing that you want to achieve.
- Have a definite timeline and deadline.
When you have those three things, you end up with a need to get it done. You end up with a sense of urgency—that kick in the pants. Accountability and urgency are the two things that can really get you off your ass and get you moving.
Most programmers out there know that urgency is one of the things that gets most shit done more than anything does. If you’ve ever worked in freelance, and there’s a deadline, you figure out a way to bend time to get shit done. I’ve done this myself and I still don’t know how we do it.
There are so many things that should not have been possible to get done by the deadline; but every deadline we had, we always managed to get things done on time. So that urgency and that accountability are the two factors of this whole method that really pull it in and make it happen.
If you’re having trouble being productive, you’re having trouble finishing a game, or you’re having trouble in that last log of whatever it is, you can be more productive by committing to something in public. You have to have the 3 points.
That is the message for today. If you liked what I shared, please leave me a comment below, I love to hear from you guys.