Rules to Work By: The Done Manifesto

There are great Manifestos of Engineering and great Manifestos of Design, like Dieter Rams'. All of them are made with the intention of imparting a special wisdom that makes us do better work, be it a better watch or a bridge. Yet sometimes you need a set of rules to help you get your work done. And help you get past situations when something explodes. Or doesn't.

Bre Pettis and Kio Stark created the 'Manifesto of Done' in 2009. Bre is co-founder of Makerbot Industries and a good friend of GrabCAD, having worked with us on last year's design competition to create their robo-mascot. The whole idea of the Done Manifesto is this: follow these rules and you will get it done. And getting that done means more will be done. Writer Cory Doctorow described the Done Manifesto as 'basically how I live my life -- fail fast and often, get stuff done, get more stuff done, fail some more, learn, blow something up, fail, learn, do more stuff, do more stuff, do more stuff.". So when you're stuck procrastinating, or need some sort of kick to get you into gear, read the Done Manifesto to find your groove and get your work done.

The Cult of Done Manifesto

1. There are three states of being. Not knowing, action and completion.
2. Accept that everything is a draft. It helps to get it done.
3. There is no editing stage.
4. Pretending you know what you're doing is almost the same as knowing what you are doing, so just accept that you know what you're doing even if you don't and do it.
5. Banish procrastination. If you wait more than a week to get an idea done, abandon it.
6. The point of being done is not to finish but to get other things done.
7. Once you're done you can throw it away.
8. Laugh at perfection. It's boring and keeps you from being done.
9. People without dirty hands are wrong. Doing something makes you right.
10. Failure counts as done. So do mistakes.
11. Destruction is a variant of done.
12. If you have an idea and publish it on the internet, that counts as a ghost of done.
13. Done is the engine of more.

According to Bre, the whole document was made in 20 minutes "because we only had 20 minutes to get it done.".

James Provost made this handy poster for visual reference.

By James Provost