We don’t have bandwidth to do everything and sometimes we’re most helped by doing a part of something that has a big effect, but doesn’t finish the job.

Here’s a question I posted on facebook and nobody had the answer. What’s the word for doing that big first chunk?

In lumber, a flitch is a rough cut of wood. It gets you a chunk of wood that you can stack and start working with.

Let’s say I want to write a book at a table, but my chair broke. I could cut a few flitches out of a log, nail them together and have chair.

I did not

  1. I didn’t create a haven for writing, but I made something that works. It’s ugly. It’s rough. I might get splinters. I might not be comfy, but I can sit and write and that was my goal in the first place. I didn’t work for a week making a drawing, measuring, getting all the tools together, cutting, sanding, painting and whatnot. I’m a writer (in this scenario) not a carpenter.
  2. I did not skip it completely and sit on the floor crying about how I’ll never write again.

Find the flitch

As freelancers, we are helped by finding the flitch. We can take big chunks out of our projects. We can be aware of our desire to create elegance from the start, or our feeling of futility.

Next up

Part of effective flitching is knowing what’s next. We can…

  1. Leave it as it is. We have a rough chair that we’ll use forever.
  2. Iterate with another flitch. The chair’s giving me splinters and it’s hard on my butt. hard on my butt is the worst part, because my writing is cut short, so maybe I cut out an indent in the chair so it fits my tush better. That might take care of most of my splinters too
  3. I become a carpenter writer. I explore improving my chair making skills or maybe I just really enjoy making this one chair.

The important part of this stuff is that we do it all deliberately.

Written for folks who want to attract and energize groups

Scot Nery is an emcee who has helped some of the biggest companies in the world achieve entertainment success. He's on an infinite misson to figure out what draws people in and engages them with powerful moments.

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