One of the greatest time wasters ever invented is the incessant need to do things perfectly. As children we're taught "any job worth doing is worth doing well." But some part of us takes this a step further, redefining "well" as "perfect in every conceivable form."
If you find yourself being busy but not productive, it's very possible you have fallen into the trap of "doing things right." So let me ask you point blank: is it more important to do things right, or to do the right things?
Let me backup a moment. What exactly do I mean by this phrase?
"Doing things right" means spending as much time as necessary to make sure every detail of a plan is executed perfectly. If you're writing a business plan, that means you've consulted 8 people and are now on the hunt for the perfect paper, not too light and not too dark, with a bit of texture behind it.
If you're writing an email, it means you write it 17 times, making sure every turn of phrase is just so.
In short, it means you're a perfectionist.
Some of the world's greatest art and accomplishments come from people who demand, and get, excellence to the last detail. There is absolutely nothing wrong with it, and is even a huge strength.
To a point.
If this description fits you, then your lesson is to learn exactly what that point is. Consider the phrase, "good is often the enemy of the best."
It is "good" to do each task as well as possible. However, usually it does not serve your highest outcome. In business especially, it is often better to do things just "ok," and do the right activities, than do each activity perfectly. The trick is knowing when to stop perfecting, and simply allowing what is, to be.
So my friend, if this article is speaking to you, it's time to look at why you try so hard to do each thing perfectly, to the detriment of better results. A question for you: what would happen if you didn't spend all of your time making details perfect? What could you fill this time with? What would you rather be doing? Or does doing each thing perfectly help you to feel you are accomplishing something?
Is being busy being productive?
This article applies to me, so I will use its message and not rewrite it 87 times. You may find a mistake or two, and it's too long. But guess what? It's more important for me to write this article today, now, than perfect it in a week. So what can you do imperfectly today?
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-J. Hinderer, Santa Ana, CA.