I don’t know about you, but too often I procrastinate completing a project because it just isn’t perfect. Do you ever do this? For many of us, this behavior most likely started in our early years when we heard something like, “If something is worth doing, then do it right”. Did we then transpose that into something like, “Since I can’t do it right, I may as well not do it at all?”
The reality of most situations is that perfection is not required. Good Enough is usually, well … good enough. This simple chart shows the relationship between the quality obtained and time spent. It’s easy to notice that at some point, there are diminishing returns for your effort.
Finding that balance is a challenge we all face. How do we find it? When is Good Enough simply good enough? I’ll readily admit that there are times that perfection is required. Heart surgeons and airplane mechanics should be typically erring closer to perfection. But writing a blog, or baking a casserole, or painting a room, or washing the dog are easily things where good enough is just fine. Any additional time spent on these activities will not yield results with a noticeable difference. And I’ll argue that most of our lives are filled with activities where good enough is acceptable.
The benefit of embracing good enough is a less stressful life with more things accomplished. More accomplished with less stress? … Sounds good enough for me!
Of course for the hard-core perfectionists, Chad Perrin, an IT Consultant, writes, “employ a philosophy of good enough for now, where you don’t let the desire for perfection keep you from using what’s good enough, but you don’t let the existence of good enough prevent you from always improving things in search of perfection.”
So if you won’t accept good enough because of your need for perfection, why not at least accept good enough for now? Progress will be made and you’ll sleep better at night. In my own case, getting my website redesigned was a pursuit towards perfection. I was reminded that changing a webpage is a relatively easy task. So five weeks ago my redesigned website launched. It is good enough. The perfectionist in me sees things that can and will be improved. In the meantime, it’s launched (as opposed to being continuously revised in beta) and I’m sleeping at night. Good enough for now!
Next Blog Title: Give Yourself ‘A Break from Stress’ for Christmas
Next Blog Date: Monday, December 21, 2010