Rework 'Inspiration'

I finally got around to reading Rework. It’s a book by 37signals that challenges how business is run today. It’s a must-read for any entrepreneur and one of my favorite books this year.

rework book cover

There are many great lessons in the book: Learning from mistakes is overrated, Good enough, Scratch your own itch, No time is no excuse, Planning is guessing, Start something. I could write a blog entry for each one.

But the lesson I remember the most, and the one that has had the largest impact on me, is that inspiration is perishable.

We all have ideas. Ideas are immortal. They last forever.

What doesn’t last forever is inspiration. Inspiration is like fresh fruit or milk: It has an expiration date.

If you want to do something, you’ve got to do it now. You can’t put it on a shelf and wait two months to get around to it. You can’t just say you’ll do it later. Later, you won’t be pumped up about it anymore.

Inspiration is a magical thing, a productivity multiplier. But it won’t wait for you. If it grabs you, grab it right back and put it to work.

I’ve taken this to heart lately and it’s worked wonders for my productivity and butt-kicking. No more writing ideas down on lengthy to-do lists that gather dust and never get finished. Now, when I feel the inspiration to do something, I simply start it.

It may not be perfect, and the plan may not be clear, but I’ve found I get more done in those precious moments than if it’s put off until later.

Even if a task can’t be completed in its entirety, the key is just starting.

Say you’re in the mood for a burrito and think, “There should be an app that tells me where the nearest burrito is. Maybe I’ll work on one this weekend”.

We all know what happens after. The excitement fades. There are house chores to do. Episodes of Game of Thrones to watch. The app becomes a distant memory.

A better alternative is, in that moment of wanting a burrito app, you sign up for an account on Google App Engine or Heroku. Or doodle down an initial design. Big or small, it doesn’t matter what the action is as long as it maintains your momentum and inspiration to get it done!

Some may argue they don’t have enough time at that moment. That there will be a better time later. The truth is there will never be a perfect time. Either you want to do something, or you don’t. It’s only a matter of what you make a priority.

So take action. And don’t let inspiration go to waste.