Blog Start before you're ready

Tagged: Thoughts | Posted: Fri, Dec 06, 2013 approx. 2 min read

Start before you're ready

I recently read Levelling up by @iamashely, and thought it might be nice to write about it’s effect on me.

I found the article a lovely exhortation to just get started. round about the same time I saw the work of Chris Piascik which was obviously the stars aligning to make me stop procrastinating and start doing that thing I’ve been meaning to do for ages.

In my case it was a content audit for a site that I’m starting work on - exciting I know, but I’ve been reading and understanding the importance and value of these and thought now was the chance to try to begin a project with a more comprehensive brief than we’ve sometimes had before.

I think this is one of the major perils of working ‘in house’ - the desire to get things started and feel like things are progressing can lead you to maybe miss steps that are unfamiliar or were the value in doing them is less immediately tangible.

So, I procrastinated some more and used wgetget to download the existing site (I have a weakness for command line stuff, that makes me feel like I’m a proper geek), so that I could potentially move things around - see how good I am at procrastinating?

I still hadn’t started the audit at this point. Previously we’d also tried something else new in creating user personas that would be used to design and develop features for. Keeping the GDS service design manual all about user needs, in mind I tried to see what questions the content on the site was answering.

All the while through this process I was really anxious about whether I was doing it right, and whether it really would prove useful later on in the process. Maybe a bit of impostor syndrome creeping in? - a natural consequence of trying something new I guess. I persevered, knowing that it would be doubly annoying to have a half finished content audit and got it to a usable state. I still wasn’t sure what I was doing was right, so took the long shot that one of the many clever people I follow on twitter might be able to reassure or help me. @liammcmurray from Bath came up trumps and pointed me to some colleagues - @RichProwse& @copytofollow who do this for a living. There were kind enough to point me to some helpful resources and share some tips.

It was a cool example of this web community that we hear so much about.

I’ve now produced an initial version of an audit that now will hopefully, make the next stage of the project proceed more smoothly and help us create a better product.

All of that story about the mundane day to day of my work is to illustrate how acting upon a well written and positive article can be so good for your productivity and confidence.