Good Enough Versus Perfect.
Posted by Alicia | Filed under Alicia
I am sure I’m not alone in my perfectionist ways. I cannot be the only one who struggles with completing a task “exactly to the guideline I’ve put in my head” versus “good enough”. Sometimes I don’t realize I cannot distinguish between these two situations and I end up stuck trying to get that last 2% completed, which is just the gloss.
When I was a student, if I was so inclined I could work on an assignment for as many hours as I could squeeze into my schedule before the deadline. At work, assuming you work a standard work week of 40 hours, you cannot necessarily work 20 hours on one project just to tweak little things here and there.
But having been a grad student who more often than not took work and reading home with her, it’s been a significant change in my pattern. Over the last year and a half I’ve learned this lesson well. Having more rigid time frames and enforcing a strict “don’t take work home in the evenings unless it’s the very last resort” policy has made me a little antsy.
Now, don’t get my wrong… I am not creating and submitting shoddy work. I’d say they’re always above 90%+ “perfect”, but the extra polish that sometimes requires an exorbitant time commitment isn’t always fully there. And if the time is not on my side, then that’s where they land. Work assignments don’t bleed out over weeks and months when days are sufficient.
It’s not always worth it spending equivalent amount of work on the final polish of an internal update document than on the entire writing on the report. If it was an external document, or it was going to clients then sure, I’d spend the time polishing up the last little bit, but most times that isn’t the situation.
How does this relate to finance? Well, that is mostly due to the fact that I also suffer from “personal finance perfection” as well. I’ve had slip-ups, and it pains me when things do not go exactly as my projected spreadsheet shows. But many times I can get myself 90% there without too much extra effort. That last 10%? It can be a struggle, and requires quite a push many times.
I’m unsure if this would always be the case, or if I am putting overly aggressive goals in my spreadsheets making it difficult to reach. Is that extra 10% worth it if it encompasses all my free time? Or is it worth it for my finances always to be the first thing on my mind? Even if that is the case, I need to acknowledge to myself that 90% is way better than 0%, and progress is being made.
In both work, and in personal finance, what it really comes down to is a trade-off, and finding that balanced middle-ground. Can I live with the way things are going? And the answer is yes.
Do you struggle with “good enough” and “perfect” in your career and finances? How do you overcome it, and which side do you fall to?