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As a functional Virgo, perfectionism has been something that I have always tried to live up too. But, one thing you learn about yourself when you try to achieve perfection is that you actually never get anything done.
There’s a saying you may have heard that affects people in all walks of life, and that saying is:
Done is better than perfect.
What does it really mean though, and how does it affect your life?
In most societies, the relentless pursuit of perfection is a normal part of everyday life. Whether you have a job or you’re in a business where you work for yourself, this pursuit can stop you dead in your tracks. This is because if you constantly insist on perfection, it’s rare that anything will actually get done!
I have a career in digital marketing. Many times, someone will insert their opinion about my team’s work. Maybe they don’t think the website is pretty or maybe they didn’t like that email. My answer is always very simple: I’m not getting paid to make “pretty things. I’m getting paid to get the work done.” Beauty in my opinion is relative. For the majority of the time in my field, I used metrics and analytics to drive decisions. I can get ten opinions about a project but only by actually doing something will I ever be able to make an assessment of whether or not it works. If it does, fantastic! If not, I’m gathering results and I’m off to the next test. But I always get the job done!
Daily productivity is important no matter who you are, or what you do. A stay at home mother needs to be just as productive as the CEO of a multi-million dollar corporation. They just have different tasks. Yet, insisting on perfection in every task renders each person inefficient, and ineffective at accomplishing those necessary tasks.
“Done is better than perfect” also speaks to those who tend to procrastinate in getting things done. If I don’t have this mindset. I can’t get anything done. Often, perfection is used as a kind of distraction or avoidance technique. If the task is never completed because it’s never perfect, then there is no risk of rejection for the task not being done well enough. So, imperfection stops any forward momentum – a killer of both personal and business productivity.
When you’ve gotten to a point within a task or a job that is “good enough”, it very often is just that – good enough! Whether the task is folding laundry, writing a new chapter of your book, or writing a strategy proposal, there comes a point of diminishing return on your effort. At this point, take a look deep within and ask yourself if you are simply procrastinating finishing the task.
Now, this doesn’t mean you can be lazy and say it’s good enough. You are setting yourself up for failure. You must put in the work and do the best that you can to produce a quality result. Much more can be accomplished in any given day if slight imperfections are allowed to remain. Letting go of perfectionism is difficult, but not impossible, and when you see how much more productive you can be, you’ll be amazed. The key is in realizing when done is good enough, and letting go of the control.
It’s not about not striving to do a great job – doing your best in any situation, even in the smallest of tasks, is imperative – it’s about realizing when the job is complete and you can move on to the next task, as opposed to using perfection as an excuse to not move forward, and losing all momentum.
Do you struggle with perfectionism? Do you agree with done is better than perfect? I want to hear from you!