We've all heard that saying, “a job worth doing is worth doing well”. It was drummed into us as a child by our teachers and parents that if you're going to do something, then you may as well do a really good job of it. It's a very common adage for us to hear. When we are faced with something that's challenging or important to us, we put it off because we say to ourselves if I can't do perfectly then I shouldn't do it because “a job worth doing is worth doing well”.
Therefore, we put off doing things because we feel they're not perfect. This is one of my own personal hurdles, my personality type is that of a perfectionist. I need to make sure things are absolutely perfect before I do them, so I procrastinate because everything's not perfect and I put off these tasks. However, if the only way we can get good at things or do things really well is to first do a lousy job, well that's how we learn. Learning from mistakes and knowing what we can do to improve upon that, is the key.
Get back on your Bike
Most people have roller-skated or ridden a bike and you can rest assured that when they first got on those roller skates or on that push bike they were not perfect. It was not a job well done. We've all fallen off our bike, had crashes, fallen on our backside and in doing so we learnt by our mistakes. If we had said, well there's no point getting on roller skates or no point getting on a push bike unless I do it perfectly then we would never have tried. What happens is that we put those things off and then ultimately that produces stress for us. We can find ourselves six months down the track and we haven't started the task that's really important to us. We haven't made progress on it because a job worth doing is worth doing well and we think, I'm not going to start this until I can do it absolutely perfectly. Remember - something is better than nothing.
Be like Apple
A great example of this in terms of successful people and businesses who follow this principle is the iPhone. When the iPhone was first launched there was a lot of people who were competing in that space with touch screen technology for mobile phones. Everybody was on the brink of launching it. At the time, Blackberry was the leader in the mobile phone market, closely followed by Nokia. Apple decided their product wasn’t perfect but that they were going to launch it anyway, because they knew their users were going to tell them the issues with the product, what could be improved or even that they’re not using the product tools and therefore it isn’t valuable. The philosophy of Apple is to challenge the status quo and to make user-friendly products. Being perfect and being right the first time was not under their scope or philosophy. They embraced the mistakes that they knew that they were going to make, and this made them the leaders in the field. It can cause us more stress by putting things off until they're perfect. Anyone who has had children knows that there is no perfect time to have children. Just do it and learn how to deal with it afterwards
Finding the Perfect Time to Do Things
Sometimes, there is no perfect time to do things, we just need to start. Certain things may be important to us but they're not necessarily urgent. We really want to do them, we want to achieve them for ourselves, so we'll fit them in when we can. I've got some projects that I want to develop, and they are important for my business growth, but I don't have a deadline for them. This is what happens when you are your own boss. Instead I'm concentrating on completing projects for my clients, because those tasks have a deadline and because I'm accountable to them. Meanwhile, six months later the resources that I wanted to produce still are not completed because they're important but not yet urgent.
Now, because I have put them off, they have become urgent. I have a strategic plan of where I want my business to go and these resources are part of that plan. They have become urgent in terms of the long-term goals and deadlines that I have set myself. I now need to prioritise them. It is helpful for me to block out time in my calendar for this. You can change those time blocks, but by at least putting the project in your calendar you're making a contract with your subconscious and you are consciously aware of changing those time blocks. Instead of those projects being on the back burner they are now a pot that's on the front of the stove and you're consciously moving the pot around on the stove. Or your project, like mine may not be on the stove yet, more likely on the back burner out in the shed!
Here are a few tips to help you alleviate the stress from not achieving your goals
- Remember, a job worth doing is worth doing lousy.
- Make time in your diary for things that are important but not yet urgent.
- Allow yourself to make mistakes.
- Listen to the monkey on your shoulder.
- Wait for things to be perfect.
- Delay starting, waiting for the perfect time.
- Worry about mistakes.
Would you like to know your other hidden time management traps? Or are you simply frustrated by your inaction?
You can book a time to chat. My goal is not to sell but to always give value. Promise.
About the Author:
Barbara Clifford (The Time Tamer) is a time management & stress management enthusiast based in Alice Springs, Australia. She has spent over 20 years working in time precious and stressful industries such as film, hospitality and marketing. She has always had a burning passion for creating order and making sense of things. She is sought after like a beacon in a sea of chaos to provide professional development in the business environment through workshop training, coaching, mentoring, online training programmes, webinars and as a guest speaker around Australia. Her professional experience has included contracts with small business, Not For Profits, Aboriginal Organisations, Media, Marketing, Aged Care, Universities, Health Services and Cruise Ships. Follow Barbara on Twitter @barbclifford.