Not only is it liberating to be OK with being “OK”; it’s actually essential to the growth and flourishing.
Know when good enough is enough
I’ve felt close to burnout many times in my life and overcoming my own perfectionism has helped me to keep going when everything feels too much.
In many cases, the small details I’m worrying about don’t make any difference to my clients, and forcing myself to complete a job within a fixed timeframe has proven that the end result is not noticeably worse than if I’d slaved away at it for days.
This shift in mentality takes some getting used to; after all, your work will no longer be perfect. But learning how to recognize when it’s good enough is one of the best things I ever did for my business.
The principle of Good Enough suggests that you should identify the point past which putting more resources into something won’t improve it in a meaningful manner, so you should finish with it and move on.
Essentially, this means that you should embrace the idea that Good Enough is Good Enough, instead of wasting valuable resources such as time, money, and effort—by pouring them into a place where they won’t make a meaningful difference.
For example, if you’re revising a paper that you wrote, there will be a point where it’s already good enough that going over it again won’t make a meaningful difference in its quality, so you’ll simply be wasting your time by doing so, time which you can instead spend on more valuable activities.
The principle of Good Enough can be useful in a variety of situations, particularly when it comes to boosting your personal productivity, so it’s worthwhile to understand it. As such, in the following article you will learn more about this principle, and see how you can implement it as effectively as possible.
Tara Mohr, author of Playing Big, reminds us that we do not have to incorporate every piece of feedback and criticism into our future work, but should instead consider who it came from, how important it is to serve that person’s needs, and at what point those needs might become fundamentally incompatible with our own. One of the lessons I’ve learned is that this same principle can be applied to our own inner critic, which can sometimes stand in the way of simply getting a job done.
“If you look for perfection, you’ll never be content.” — Leo Tolstoy
If you know that you generally struggle with letting go once you reach the ‘Good Enough’ point, you can decide to set hard deadlines in advance, before you start your work, based on your prior experience. (Hard (or fixed) deadlines cannot be modified, whereas soft (or flexible) deadlines can sometimes be modified)
Deciding how much time you’re willing to dedicate, in terms of total hours.
Deciding on a date by which you have to be completed.
Most importantly, you should remember that there is always a cost to doing extra work, whether it’s in terms of time, money, effort, or some other resource. When this cost isn’t worth it, that’s the point where you should stop working, and move on to the next thing that you need to do.
Overall, the key to implementing the principle of Good Enough is to identify what your good enough point is, and then stop once you get there. The standard for what good enough means for you can be as low or as high as necessary; the important thing is to set this standard using a proper reasoning process.
Note: One thing that can help you implement this 'Good Enough' principle in practice, is reminding yourself, where appropriate, that ‘done’ can be far better than ‘perfect’.
The essence is to choose good enough over perfect. Being 'Good Enough' in everything you do is better than being exceptional in only a few things while poor in others. Getting something completed is better than never finishing anything at all.
Tammy P Drummond-Rowland, RN HN
Nurse Coach & Wellness Advocate