When Done Isn’t Better Than Perfect

Hunter S. Thompson once said, “Anything worth doing, is worth doing right.” No offense to Mr. Thompson, but sometimes “done is better than perfect.” I firmly believe that oftentimes, people (women especially) can get stuck in this perfection paralysis and end up abandoning projects or taking too long to complete them because they are trying to achieve perfection.

I get it. I mean… I really, really get it. It was hard to break myself from the habit of overthinking, over checking, over questioning, over reviewing, and basically – overdoing. I am not sure when I started to shift but I think it was about the time I became a mom. Don’t judge!

As a working mom, you are constantly judging yourself for not giving everything to either area of your life. So when I heard the phrase at a Women in Business conference, I latched on. Then I remembered the 80/20 rule from my business school days and the habit began to form. I admit, I continuously need to remind myself of the refrain.

On the flip side, there are times when there is something to be said for doing something right, taking your time, and not just rushing to the finish line. For example, when I was writing my last book. I had it in my head to get it published by a certain time and I just wanted it done!

But, for the really big things, it’s also ok to take your time and get it right – or at least to the place you can feel good about. So, I chose to push the deadline for my book The Connector’s Advantage from the fall of 2018 to the Spring of 2019.

I actually shared my thinking about the decision in this video.

I got it done and the final product was better for waiting. It is still not perfect. I found way too many typos when I was recording the audiobook. But I am still really proud of it and of all the great feedback I have received about it over the last two years.

What project are you working on right now? Check-in with yourself and make sure you are not spinning for perfection when DONE will have the impact that it needs. If truly critical, give yourself the grace of a little extra time. Don’t drag it out, but don’t rush yourself either.

There is no right answer here, it is all up to you and what you feel is best. Trust yourself.

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