You can be more productive by the time you’ve finished reading this article, I promise. All you need to do is make a little change in the way you think about work, or life, and the way you approach projects. That mindset switch can happen right now, this minute, if you want. Are you ready?
The main thing you need to do in order to be more productive is to stop chasing and persuing perfection. Perfection is a fallacy. It doesn’t exist. It’s a con.
In the strive for perfection…
We’re constantly fiddling, adjusting, tampering, editing, thinking, moaning, prolonging. We end up obsessing over the finer details that most people won’t bat an eyelid at.
Because we’re so caught up on perfecting our work, there’s always something else to tinker with, so we never really finish anything.
Perfection is productivity’s arch enemy.
The perils of tinkering
I used to make music and sometimes spent weeks putting the finishing touches to tracks. I wouldn’t let things rest until every note, effect, sound or drum hit was absolutely perfect. I thought: ‘when this is finished, it’s got to be the best it can possibly be. If it’s not, then what’s the point in even bothering?‘
Over time, I noticed my ‘in development’ folder bulging, while my ‘completed’ folder starved. This constant tinkering meant that my tunes were never finished.
I was enjoying making music, but I always missed out on the real feeling of accomplishment, the big buzz, that comes with wrapping up projects and achieving.
We’d all love to be perfect…
And push ourselves to the absolute limits of our ability, producing sterling snippets of perfection on time and on budget. We’d all love to be more productive whilst churning out creative gold. And there’s nothing wrong with striving for that. But, unless you can recognise when something’s good enough, you’ll struggle to accomplish anything.
Embracing the notion of ‘good enough’
On the other hand, good enough is exactly that. It’s good enough. It’ll do. It works. It’s all it needs to be.
When we’re content with producing work that’s good enough, it means that we build the bones and put the flesh on, without worrying about the hairstyle or fingernails. It means we can be more productive and finish things instead of polishing perfect irrelevance.
Once you’re content with good enough…
You can be happy with every piece of work you produce. You can move on with the next project quicker and without hesitation, without regret and without the reminiscent feeling of ‘I could have done more’. You can be happy in the knowledge that you done what needed to be done and what you did was as good as it needed to be.
What matters more?
As an artist, when you’re creating art, perfection is desirable. But, ultimately, getting things done matters more.
Productivity doesn’t come from obsessing over perfection.
Those that get things done, those that accomplish, are valued more than those that take an age doing perfect work that’s never finished. And those that do accomplish ultimately and inevitably are more productive and happier than those that don’t.
Be more productive, now!
So that’s what you need to do to be more productive: stop striving for perfection and embrace good enough. If you embrace good enough, you’ll notice a huge difference in, not only the amount you accomplish, but also the motivation and satisfaction you’ll get from accomplishing it.
These days, I ask myself ‘what’s the point in bothering if I don’t get it finished?’ This makes sure that, when I start, I finish.
Even More Productivity
If you enjoyed that, you can get more productivity inspiration and career motivation straight to your inbox when you subscribe for updates by email.