When Good Enough Beats Perfection

by | Productivity

Good Enough

Do you spend hours researching something to save a few bucks?
Do you craft and recraft that perfect email to send that will just be skimmed by the reader?
Break free of perfection and embrace good enough.


I used to have some perfectionistic qualities, whether it was with training, my house or my work. With training, I would ride around my neighborhood until I got the last 30 seconds in to ensure my workout was long as was scheduled. In my house, I would remake the bed after my husband and clean all my baseboards every couple of weeks. At work, I would spend way too long perfectly formatting a spreadsheet when I was the only person that was going to be using it.

No more.

One thing I’ve learned in the last few years is when it pays to have something look like a million bucks and when it doesn’t. If my time is money, the time I spent trying to get the best deal ended up costing me in the end. Here are four places you can start being good enough.

  1. Research. I’m a big fan of reviews, getting a good deal and ensuring that whatever I buy meets my needs. However, when I used a profit goals formula to see how much my time was worth per hour, I changed my views on what things were worth extensive research. One of my clients took weeks to make her first online grocery order because she thought her list needed to be perfect, even though it was never perfect when she went to the store in person. She bought items not on her list and didn’t buy things that were. The timesaver of shopping online was lost due to unnecessary research. If you have a VA, give them the research. Example: Please research five Bluetooth and over-ear headsets that work with an iPhone and a computer, rated five stars and between $100 and $300.00.
  2. Emails. It’s an email, not the Constitution. Letters are formal, emails are semi-formal, and texts or chats are casual. I’m not saying to be unprofessional, but it isn’t necessary to give extraneous information, have a salutation after the first email in the thread, and for it to be long. If you work as part of a team, set guidelines around email communication, like stopping using okay and thanks as acknowledgments.
  3. Your house or car. If you need every crumb picked up, every piece of clothing folded like the Gap, and a whole-house cleaning every week, consider the time involved and what’s truly necessary. I used to clean my entire house every week, but a few years ago realized that our marimba room rarely gets used, so why am I cleaning it weekly? There is a difference between being sanitary and having spider webs in the corners and dog hair all over the sofa. I’m neat, and I don’t like clutter. Having less clutter will always make your house/office/car feel and look cleaner. I have a Personal Assistant once a week for three hours. I give her three rooms to clean weekly, and she preps and chops my vegetables for me. It saves me time and money and I can have her do the veggie-chopping,an even more important task for me.
  4. Workouts. When I did triathlons, I had a typical triathlete mentality: to follow my highly-structured training plan, no matter the weather, where I was, or what social outlet I was missing out on. In the last two years since I retired from ultra-racing, I do much shorter workouts, have a plan for the week but change it up based on my heart rate variability every morning or the weather, and I’ve never looked or felt better.

I don’t recommend good enough to all of my clients because some will start to use it as an excuse or already do. Some are procrastinators or admitted lazy people who will cut corners to their detriment. Good Enough is for people who tend to get sucked into rabbit holes or feel that their rigidity hurts them in some areas of their lives. We don’t have to change everything, but pick the areas where it can be good enough.

What do you do now that you could probably change to good enough?

IMAGE BY: Rea Donato

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“Your Weekender Snapshot and Tim Ferriss’s Five Bullet Friday are my favorite emails I receive.”

jim west

Principal and Managing Director, GFF Architects