Done is better than perfect

For almost a year now, I’ve been doing a weekly phone call with my accountability partner and friend that I met at a local entrepreneur meetup. I can’t stress how awesome it is going to events and meeting like-minded individuals.

Watch the video

I shared advice that I continue to hear over and over across various podcasts and books and that I truly resonate with…

And that advice is literally the title of this episode. I told him that DONE is better than perfect.

The perfect book that was never released has 0 sold copies.

I told him a few tips and tricks that I follow such as time blocking and setting deadlines. At the end of the day, you have to do the best you can in an allotted amount of time and then be done with it.

After our call, I searched for a YouTube video on this topic to find a message that put together all the words that I kind of thought of but couldn’t piece together eloquently enough on our call.

I found a great video from Thomas Frank. I actually just followed him recently after hearing him on Pat Flynn’s podcast, Smart Passive Income (which is a great show by the way if you’re looking for another podcast to start listening to).

Thomas has over 1.3m subscribers on YouTube and the video I’m referring to is called How to overcome perfectionism (and the anxiety it causes).

In the video, Thomas mentions that he’s always struggled with perfectionism and trying to get every little detail just right.

Over the years, he’s gotten better at this because to put out tons of content consistently, you have to get over the fact that you are not going to be perfect.

He mentions that there are two types of perfectionism: adaptive and maladaptive.  

Adaptive perfectionists are motivated by high standards, which is a good thing. They are not hyper critical about their work in the invest a lot of time and effort into various projects.

Maladaptive is, on the other hand, not so great. Maladaptive perfectionists feel constant pressure to achieve unrealistic results. They often feel anxiety and depression because they’re holding themselves to standards that they can’t often reach.

The biggest pain point mentioned that resonated with me the most was that constant tweaking causes you to take too long to finish and move on.

I understand the struggle of not wanting to start something because it seems overwhelming. I used to be that person. But I’ve gotten better with doing things fast, implementing quickly and releasing an imperfect version 1.

There’s always room to tweak and iterate.

Here’s a few tips Thomas shared in that video:

  1. Embrace imperfection. No one is perfect.
  2. Get started and let your work become a mess.
  3. Work with a deadline.
  4. Focus on getting a little better each time. Skill and knowledge come through countless iterations.
  5. Don’t compare yourself against others. Compare you vs you. An example he mentions is that you can’t compare your first YouTube video to someone else’s 500th. It’s simply not a fair comparison.

After the phone call, my friend thanked me for my advice and for sending over the video as it was totally relatable.

Just a few days later, he came across an idea in a training he attended and shared it with me. He had implemented it that day and told me how amazing it was.

The idea is to act as if you have different subjects and classes throughout the day. Take a “school” approach when scheduling your day.

Start and end new tasks on the hour and move from one to the next. On his first day of trying this he told me: “I feel I’ve been super productive and my mind has been fresh all day.”

I’m a huge fan of time blocking but I never thought of it from this angle, which really does help to organize in your day where you stay interested and engaged in your work.

It’s easy to get stuck in the flow and grind of one subject, but if we don’t set deadlines, we may be using our time inefficiently.

Imagine if you give yourself the entire day to write the perfect blog post. If you do this, you’ll find a way to take up most of the day, if not the entire day, drafting the perfect post.

The funny thing is, if you give yourself just one hour to do the same blog post, you’ll get a pretty good finish product that is concise and to the point.

Heck, maybe it’ll be even better than the one you gave yourself all day to write.

The beauty of setting deadlines is that you must stay focused and concise. Once you finish that task, you can spend the rest of your day doing other activities that are also important instead of just spinning your wheels trying to come up with the perfect headline for 2 hours.

For any of you listening who struggle with perfectionism or the inability to think or act quickly, really take this advice to heart.

Take a school schedule approach and see how much more you are able to accomplish in a day.

“You don’t have to be great to start, but you do have to start to be great.” – Zig Ziglar

Here is the Thomas Frank video I referred to in today’s post with some great tips to solve perfectionism:

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