Sometimes good enough is good enough.
This is a lesson that a business mentor used to try to drum into me until I finally took it on board.
You see, I can be a perfectionist by nature. There were times that I would spend ages and ages making a marketing flyer just so because everything has to line up just right and the font needs to be just the right size and the text needs to be written like, a million times, until I’m happy with it.
Or balancing my accounts to a cent, which to me is a little bit like doing a jigsaw puzzle in that I find it perversely pleasing and ever so satisfying when I find it. But is using my time in this way necessarily the best use of my time. What is the value that I am creating by being so precise?
And value is essentially what it boils down to: so let’s call it the value equation.
If my bookkeeper spends an hour looking for that 1 cent that doesn’t balance, or even if it’s, say, $10, what is the value to me in her doing that? Am I happy to pay her an hour of her time to find that or is it immaterial in the scheme of things? I would argue the latter.
If I spend an evening making a marketing flyer pretty (and I should point out that pretty is subjective) for some information that really would have been useful to go out that afternoon, where is the value?
Was it pretty enough in the afternoon when it would have been more valuable to send it? Is the value in making the flyer better (in my eyes) worth more than both the extra time spent on it and the delayed sending? If I had sent it earlier would it have cost me the sale? Would it have cost me anything? Would the cost have been more than the extra value?
There will be a line where value vs. cost interacts, so be mindful of where that is and make your decisions with awareness of that. In my marketing flyer example it would likely be detrimental to send something out with spelling mistakes throughout so time spent proofreading is a good idea.
But you need to realise that you may actually be doing yourself a disservice in your quest for excellence, and by letting some things be less than perfect sometimes you will reap more rewards.
Ask yourself if it is good enough and what value will be gained by spending further time on it. And if that value is negligible then I encourage you to accept that sometimes good enough really is good enough.