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Done Is Better Than Perfect: Finish Work On Time

Jan 27, 2016 3:36 PM

Finish Work on Time

Other posts from our January blog series focused on new habits that will increase your productivity so you can grow your business:

Imagine this scenario. You're working on a big project for your business. You want to do an amazing job and you're spending a ton of time trying to get every little detail right. But as soon as you get one part of it just right, you notice something else that's not perfect. You fix it, and then notice another thing. And then another thing. Before you know it, you realize you've spent days or weeks trying to perfect a project instead of finishing it. Or even worse, you never have that realization, and so you continue the vicious perfection cycle. Have you been in a situation like this?

If so, don't worry because you're not alone. Like many people, I too suffer from sporadic cases of perfectionism. But there's a tip I heard recently that has helped me quite a bit: Done is better than perfect. Think about that for a moment...done is better than perfect. Hearing this phrase gave me an almost immediate sense of relief. I work hard to do the best I can for our company. But sometimes I find myself getting caught up in the tiniest of details. My perfectionism has caused me to get less work done, and in turn, create fewer results for our company. But now I use this phrase almost like a mantra when I'm getting too far into the weeds.

This doesn't mean you or I should do sloppy work. Rather, this means we don't need to spend countless hours trying to make perfect work. Imagine the project you're working on is a new marketing campaign to increase party sales. If you can complete the project on time (even if it isn't "perfect"), you can start getting results and revenue right away, tweaking your campaign as necessary. This seems a heck of a lot better than the alternative; spending extra hours or days to get the copy, or the colors, or the images, or anything "just right." What's the opportunity cost of the alternative? How many parties did you miss out on because you were waiting until the campaign was perfect? How many more productive things could you have done with the extra time you spent on the insignificant details.

Don't get me wrong, details can be very, very important. But don't let details and minutia prevent you from actually getting results. Results speak louder than perfectionism ever could. Results mean dollars. Results keep you in business.

So the next time you find yourself spending far too much time on a project, just say to yourself, "Done is better than perfect." Then you can finish work on time, see the results, and move on to more tasks that will help you grow your business.

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