"Small deeds done are better than great deeds planned.”
– Peter Marshall
“Ideas are worth nothing unless executed.”
– Steve Jobs
“Done is better than perfect” is a popular axiom in Silicon Valley startup culture, where there is enormous pressure to get products out to market as quickly as possible. This imperative is understandable when you consider how being first to market can create a powerful advantage over competitors. It’s tough for high achievers to embrace strict time constraints, and anyone who cares about the quality of their work can easily fall victim to procrastination or perfectionism, unless ironclad deadlines are set and respected. The temptation to add one more thing or check one more time is very powerful, but must be resisted if you want to accomplish something tangible. Mission creep is a gradual shift in objectives during the course of a military campaign, often resulting in an unplanned long-term commitment. We civilians can suffer similar ‘project creep’ when we lose focus or get sidetracked.
Reducing the number of requirements a single project has, and setting simpler milestones that are easier to complete, will help get things done faster. Instead of asking how you can make it perfect, ask, “What is the least you can do to create something useful?” You’re never going to get it just right the first time around, so trying to make it perfect is often a waste of time and energy. The key is to get started as soon as possible so you can get to the second iteration of what you’re doing as quickly as possible. “Done is better than perfect” allows you to test drive ideas quickly, so you can scrap a project that isn’t going anywhere before you’ve committed too much time to it.
Onward and upward!
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