Be great—not perfect
October 27, 2011
by Amy Beth Miller, The Organized Executive
While striving for excellence will make you successful, an unyielding drive for perfection will hold you back. Some things should be perfect; many others don’t need to be. Recognize the difference and you will be well on your way to better managing your time. Adopt these habits to free yourself from the tyranny of perfection:
- Settle for less. One way to beat an overdeveloped need for perfection is to practice accepting less. Go ahead, send an email to a friend with that typo you spotted. Notice that the world does not end. Then you can start deciding what is “Good enough.”
- Squeeze yourself. British author C. Northcote Parkinson famously observed that “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” Instead of falling victim to Parkinson’s Law, use it to your advantage. Limit the time you will spend on a task. Allow yourself to proofread a report one time instead of three. Set a timer if necessary.
- Learn to be satisfied. Researchers have identified two important types of personalities. “Maximizers” always strive for the absolute best choice they can find. “Satisficers” decide which criteria are important to them and will accept a choice that meets those criteria. Who’s happier? The satisficers. Maximizers devote a lot of time to researching the options, and even after they make a choice they will worry that it wasn’t the best possible outcome. Set your criteria, make a decision and move on.
Back to Previous Page
Sign Up Now to the Priority One e-Letter