1. Be proactive
One of the prime mistakes demons make is waiting for lusty teenagers to randomly stumble onto a Portal to Hell in the basement of an abandoned cabin. After all, when you’re a demon condemned for all eternity, what’s a millennium here or there? However, you are statistically more likely to improve your Soul Reaping Quotient if you take initiatives that lead directly to victim torturing and/or possession. These might include inhabiting the body of a cat (always complicit) to lure her master into an ancient crypt or arranging to have a fortune cookie delivered that reads “Now is an excellent time to dabble in the dark arts.” Recognize your Circle of Influence, your Circle of Concern and your Circle of Hell.
2. Begin with the end in mind
Envision the apocalypse you’d like to see and work towards it. Constantly review your mission. Are you the demon you want to be? Are you sufficiently horrifying? Should you be more wraith-like or more lizard-esque? What is your position on disembowelling? By developing a clear picture of a future where the Dark Lord rules over a dystopian hellscape engulfed in flames and unspeakable agony, you’ll be better able to develop the tools (pitchfork, sword, saw, razor-blade fingers) to reach your goal.
3. Put first things first
The effective demon recognizes the difference between what is important and what is urgent. For example, it is urgent and important for you to sacrifice a virgin on the Altar of Zul-Lahl before the final grains of sand drain from the Hourglass of Raghjgh on the Feast of St. Blomulin. By contrast, it is urgent but not important to thwart your would-be vanquisher by releasing a swarm of killer bees from your mouth, super cool though that may be. Quipping while doing so, “Why don’t you mind your own bees-iness,” is neither urgent nor important and frankly embarrassing to all the other demons.
4. Think win-wince
Remember: your victim is not merely some nameless soul you are reaping or casually torturing because, heck, you’re a demon! Your victims have families, loved ones, people who are important to them. So why aren’t you torturing them too! Be aware that your victims have feelings: feelings of excruciating pain, especially when you do that thing where you turn their body inside out and then make them watch all 10 seasons of “Friends.”
5. Seek first to understand, then to be understood
Let’s face it: you’re a demon as ancient as time, born out of the kernel of evil that, together with all that is good, spawned the universe, the primeval battle between the two sides never-ending, eternal. So your English is probably pretty lousy. Don’t go making any big speeches. Stick with the hissing and moaning. But if you must, speak like you’re from the 16th century, preferably with a British accent. (“Foolish mortal! Thou hast doomed thyself to a hellish fate of solely those episodes about Monica and Pete!”) It’s equally important to actively listen – actively listen to your victim’s blood-curdling shrieks of anguish and despair, because really, at the end of the day, it’s the little screams that make it all worthwhile.
By combining individual strengths, you can achieve goals that you could not have achieved alone. By combining individuals, you can achieve a hideous six-headed, multi-limbed being, which is hours and hours of fun.
7. Sharpen the saw
Take time out from your possessing, torturing and general mutilating to renew your dark energies. The wise demon will sometimes say, “You know, I realize those archaeologists just unearthed an ancient relic that will trigger the End Times, but I think it’s best for my well-being – or ‘hell-being,’ ha-ha! – if I sit this one out.” (Or, as a demon would actually say, “GNARRRH LOCCC KNTTROOOGG BLRRRGGG!”) Read a good Book of the Dead. Have a nice soak in a tub of fire. Take the day to float lazily down the river of blood. Yoga. In doing so, you’ll be better able to implement the other six habits and become an even more highly effective demon!
Also: sharpen the saw. Literally sharpen the saw.