You may recall from my post on The Four Tendencies that productivity is something I pride myself on. Between a day job, this blog, and various freelance projects, I’m always working on something. And while, of course, I’m always trying to turn out the best product that I can, particularly when it’s work for other people, there’s a motto that I’ve always kept in mind: perfection is the enemy of progress. Often, whatever you’re working on is better done than perfect.
BETTER DONE THAN PERFECT
Now, this doesn’t mean that you can turn in sloppy work to a client or publish a blog post with unedited pictures. What it means is that, on a daily basis, you shouldn’t obsess and stress and second guess yourself into a state of never actually accomplishing anything.
If you’re striving for perfection, you’ll never start that side hustle. You’ll never finish that home DIY you found on Pinterest. You’ll never get around to hosting that dinner party. Sure, you could spend weeks obsessing over the perfect paint color for your living room. Or, you could pick one that looks good, get it done in an evening, and be done with it. Yes, you could spend a year perfecting the website for the business you want to launch before you ever show it to a soul. Or, you could hire a designer, make some decisions and just do it.
Perfect isn’t possible in most of our everyday projects and it keeps us from moving forward.
BE CONTENT IN THE PRESENT
A huge part of living with a better done than perfect attitude is also being content in the present. Not getting stuck imagining how amazing life could be if it was just a tiny bit different. It’s being happy in the moment and making the most of what you’re doing.
We all know those people that are just never happy with the way things turned out. Whether it’s a vacation, a home project, even just a dinner out with friends, there’s always something that wasn’t right, that wasn’t perfect. I’ve cut those kinds of people out of my life before, because who needs that negativity? (Note here: there’s definitely a difference between constructive feedback – like, “for next time, I would have done this differently” – and just never being happy with the final product!)
Sometimes it’s better to have just done the damn thing rather than spent countless hours obsessing and harping on a few tiny decisions. When you focus on getting things done and moving forward rather than trying to make every detail perfect, you’re able to let go, accomplish more, and live happier.
FINISH UP AND KEEP GOING
The next time you have a project on the horizon and you’re starting to feel a bit paralyzed by the pressure to make it perfect, toss that mentality out the window. Don’t wait to have friends over for dinner just because you haven’t perfected every recipe in Mastering the Art of French Cooking – your friends won’t care whether you serve dips or an artfully roasted chicken. The perfect day with 10% humidity and 12 free hours may never happen, so go ahead and get that dresser painted one night after work – you’ll be delighted to finally have it done. And waiting to apply for the dream job because a resume isn’t yet perfect? Just do it. The person who got the job wasn’t waiting for the perfect resume or the perfect timing.
So, stop worrying about perfection, just get it done, and see how much more you can accomplish.
A SIDE NOTE
Also, side note, along the lines of better done than perfect, these photos were taken earlier this summer when I was in Jersey City for the weekend. I had no plans to do blog pictures, but I did have my camera with me, we were a bottle or two of rosé deep, and my friend Steph was halfway (all the way?) mocking me, saying we should do a blog shoot. So, we did, and, hey, they actually turned out really well!