First, find the funny

sThere’s a lot in this snippet Cal Newport shares of an interview Jerry Seinfeld did in 2014.

“Let me tell you why my TV series in the 90s was so good, besides just an inordinate amount of just pure good fortune. In most TV series, 50 percent of the time is spent working on the show, 50 percent of the time is spent dealing with personality, political, and hierarchical issues of making something. We spent 99 percent of our time writing. Me and Larry [David]. The two of us. The door was closed. It’s closed. Somebody calls. We’re not taking the call. We were gonna make this thing funny. That’s why the show was good.”

For Seinfeld and co-creator Larry David, if the show wasn’t funny, none of the extraneous stuff was going to matter. Before anything else, their most important job was to create episodes that would make people laugh. And the best way to do that was to just close the door and focus first on finding the funny.

Whatever it is you’re working on, what matters more than anything else? Whether the goal is to be funny, clear, useful, motivating, change-inducing, etc., close the door (literal and virtual—turn the phone off) and then get to work on finding it.