Apr 27 / Matt Saunders

A Quick Hack to Overcome Perfectionism

To beat perfectionism you must embrace being imperfect.
Perfectionism is disastrous for productivity. I'm not saying you shouldn't hold yourself to high standards. I am saying that those standards shouldn't stop you from getting sh!t done.

It's way too easy to busy ourselves with details. I could write and edit this article endlessly in the pursuit of perfection.

But then I would simply never hit "publish". You want to find a level of satisfactory readiness rather than perfection.

Ready is better than perfect

The work will never be done. There will always be room for improvement. Accept this and give yourself a deadline for readiness.

Having a newsletter that goes out every Thursday has meant that I simply don't have the luxury of endlessly tweaking each one I send out. It has to be ready by the time it is sent. Can you apply the same principle to all your work?

For example, you might allow yourself 2 x 25 minutes to write a blog post. Write for 25 minutes, then stop. Edit for 25 minutes, then hit publish.
The key is to reach a level of readiness, not perfection. And a deadline can facilitate this.

If you mentally commit to the idea that "I have two sittings of 25 minutes to write this blog post" you will find a way to make it happen. Parkinson's law stipulates that things take as long as the time you give them. That's why deadlines are so powerful, and without them, perfectionism will keep you working on the same thing indefinitely.

This article is imperfect. I'm happy with it, but I know I could tweak, extend and even rewrite parts of it.

But it's going out in less than 14 hours and I'm calling it a day. The deadline is here.

Think about all the time you've wasted obsessing and iterating the details. Now commit to giving yourself a deadline and doing your damndest to hit.
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