I have spent far too much time this week agonizing over some very simple tasks. The term analysis paralysis could also be used. I allowed preparing for a simple meeting to get the best of me. Is the order correct? Do the numbers match? Should I use the blue cover instead of the red cover? Do I need to change the layout? On and on it goes.
A project that should only take an hour ended up taking an entire day. In addition, I created extra work and stress for the people that were helping me. I kept telling myself that all I wanted is for the meeting to be perfect. There is nothing wrong with that, right?
Carly Simon tells the story of how she wrote a song in twenty minutes because her dinner companion was late. Her song- “It’s too late baby “ went on to be a number one hit. Elizabeth Jenkins wrote, “The Tortoise and the Hare” in 3 weeks. It has also been rumored that portions of Martin Luther King’s I have a dream speech were improvised on the spot. Some even say the phrase “I have a dream” was not part of the original speech. I’m sure you will agree that all of these people produced something of quality and value in a very short period of time.
I think it is good to strive for excellence. However, there comes a point that good enough really can be good enough. Will anyone really care if the logo is at the top of the page or the bottom? Does it matter if the index is color coded? Is this the best use of my time?
I know over thinking a problem or a project happens to all of us. I believe that your first instinct on how to do something usually is the correct way. Musicians call it “The First Take”. Our judgment also improves with maturity and experience.
It’s important to trust your instincts. More importantly, have the self-confidence to determine when good enough really is good enough. I’m also betting that your good enough will probably be darn close to perfection.
The pursuit of perfection often impedes improvement.”