The ultimate lifehack: Do the work

Want to be super productive, build fabulous wealth, write the great American novel and have six-pack abs? I’m about to give you the secret to it all, the ultimate life hack, the secret of the world’s most productive and successful people. Writer Steven Pressfield expressed it perfectly in three simple words: Do the work.

Do the work means start with the hard things, not the easy things. Don’t be lured in by the seductive dopamine rush of checking off easy tasks on your to-do list. Start with the hard stuff, the stuff that scares you.

Cover image from Do the Work by Steven Pressfield

Image courtesy Steven Pressfield

Do the work means tackling the thing that you want to do the least, that some part of you is resisting, first. As success guru Brian Tracy advises, “Eat that frog” first.

Do the work when the work is building systems so you don’t waste time on repetitive, rote tasks that have to get done.

Do the work when the work is training and coaching others to do their work the right way the first time, so you don’t have to fix it.

Do the work when the work is difficult conversations with difficult people about difficult topics, to solve problems rather than continuing to endure them.

Do the work when the work is confronting your own innermost fears and weaknesses. Sometimes what stares back at you in the mirror isn’t pretty, but the work doesn’t care. Do the work anyway.

Do the work when you feel like you’re not smart enough, not experienced enough, not charming enough, not educated enough.

Do the work when you don’t feel like it. The work doesn’t care how you feel.

Even if you don’t become super wealthy, write a best-selling book, achieve six-pack abs or do whatever it is you’re dreaming, do the work.

Just do the work.

Note: Author Steven Pressfield, who I mention at the top of this post, has a new book out called Turning Pro. I haven’t read it, yet, but I will. I’ve read his other books on writing and creativity, such as The War of Art and Do the Work, the inspiration for this post. If you are doing anything that involves making something that wasn’t there before, doing creative work, trying to improve yourself or the world, you should read Pressfield’s work.


  1. Donna Kirkman says

    Needed that to remind myself, no matter how difficult it seems, it is always better the next day because you are closer to what you are reaching for.

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