Imperfect Action Versus Perfect Inaction

By August 4, 2015Productivity

9rWhen running a business there are myriad tasks and responsibilities vying for your attention. Here’s just three for example:

  • Should I do the books or update my website?
  • Will I write and article or make a video?
  • Do I develop a new service or product or stay with what I have now?

What tends to happen when we have multiple competing thoughts and options is, we just do nothing! That’s right. We feel it is safer and less hassle to not engage with any more thought or rumination rather than actually start on a task or project.

The paradox of choice kicks in and we do not make a choice. The outcome is called procrastination. Ah, that comfortable and cozy feeling of putting off those pressing and irritating things that need doing. But procrastination has its downsides in low productivity and stress.

I am, by nature, a perfectionist. A perfectionist who has learned that doing something that is acceptable and improving it over time is better than trying to achieve perfection. For one thing, you produce things faster and meet deadlines more often.

Perfectionist chase an unachievable dream of doing everything right the first time. Guess what? By the time you are satisfied with your creation, (whatever it may be) many iterations have been performed.

Despite the iterations, adjustments, amendments and loose thread checking, perfection will still allude you. Better to create and then publish, distribute and then ask for feedback.

Of course I am not recommending you invent a medical product and not test it! Critical services and products demand a defined and precise development process.

I am talking about your business when it comes to creating content, service offerings and the like. In business “speed to market” is very important, as is momentum. When trying to perfect anything, you are at the mercy of doubt, second guessing and our old friend procrastination.

I have found what works for me is to commit to an outcome within a time frame. This puts pressure on me to maintain my promise to myself of performing a certain task or project.

For example, if I am writing an article (like this one) I set a timer for 25 minutes and flesh out a topic, outline, beginning, end and headline. Then I employ a tool (speech recognition software) to create the content. I then take a break for ten minutes and come back to do one review and spelling/grammar check.

Then I publish. Ok, it may not be the best article ever written but, it’s out there! Prior to my realization of what perfectionism was costing me, it would have taken me three times as long to write an article.

If you want to be effective and productive you need to have a good hard look at what your expectations of yourself are. It is not realistic or healthy to expect perfection in everything you do.

That way lies stress, frozen potential and many excuses! Be kind to yourself and accomplish more in a day by embracing imperfect action.

 

 

 

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