0001: Simply Start

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Starting is the most important step for finishing anything. Without a start, there is no finish. Do not be afraid to start.

Where to Start

There is a lot of uncertainty at the beginning that could be overwhelming. Do not get overwhelmed and create a list of potential first tasks. These tasks will differ by their importance, size, dependencies, difficulty, and required understanding of the problem. There are many different strategies how to pick the first one.

Pick Deal Breaker

If you are not sure if the task could be even achieved, you should start with the task on which your success depends. If you manage to solve it, then you can work on the remaining tasks. If you cannot solve it, then you should either try to figure out some workaround or stop.

Pick Task That Helps With Understanding

If there is a lot of uncertainty, then starting with a task that helps you to increase your understanding, is a reasonable idea. This however often requires clarification from other people, which could slow you at the beginning. It is worth it since there is no point in going in the wrong direction.

Pick Simple Task

A small task with no dependencies that you can finish with ease is a good starter. You should complete it quickly without any problems. The advantage is that it can give you a feeling of accomplishment. This approach has some disadvantages as well. You can throw away all your effort, if there are some deal breakers, or if you have misunderstood the problem.

It is Fine to Stop

If you have started quickly, you can also find out very quickly, that it was not a good start. Either the idea was bad, it is more complicated than it looked at in the beginning, or there is a better idea. In your decision, you should not consider your previous effort. If you do so, be aware of sunk cost fallacy.


 Start Simply: 0002