How I saved my sanity by being good enough

Do you spend hours researching something to save a few bucks?

Do you craft and recraft that perfect email to send to a recipient who just skims it?

I used to have plenty of perfectionistic qualities, and you know what?

They held me back.

I would ride around the block to ensure I used my entire allocated workout time, despite already reaching my goal. I would remake the bed after my husband; you can just imagine how that went down! I would spend too much time needlessly perfectly formatting a spreadsheet that only I was going to use!!

I know, crazy.

But even crazier is, I am not the only one.

Are you crawling around dusting the baseboards every week too? Creating endless lists of cleaning that only stresses you out because you can never get to it all? Compulsively filing your emails or documents? Please tell me you didn't spend 3 hours looking for cheaper flights to save $10 (on a $1000 flight)?

You can work on something so much that the value you gain from doing it begins to drop in comparison to the time you spent on it. That is known as the law of diminishing returns.

You need to learn to value your time.

So, today we break free from perfection and embrace good enough.

Value your time

One thing I’ve learned in the last few years is how much my time is worth.

Owning a business will do that to a person.

Bonus for me is that I am also a Productivity and Health Coach, so I get the added reinforcement of helping other people to evaluate what their time is worth, and ensuring they use it to change their lives positively.

I have become pretty adept at thinking about what my time is worth. Now I think before making something an A+ when an A- will suffice.

You too, fellow perfectionist, can take this approach. And this is how you get started...

Think about your time as money. You will quickly see what matters to you. The 3 hours you spent saving $10, it ended up costing you in the end.

Start by using the Profit Goals formula to see how much your time is worth per hour. When you know exactly how much you need to make every hour to survive, you will be sure to use your time to your advantage!

Understand where your time goes

If you think you are wasting time on needless perfection, it is time to find out just how much...

Use the focus booster app and note down how long things are taking you. Then it is time to take it to the next level, start scheduling sessions for tasks to keep you on track and do your best to stick to that planned schedule.

Over the course of a week, monitor your progress. Focus on delivering to the quality of good enough. No more perfecting spreadsheets and writing thank you emails.

When you get the hang of this you will notice you are achieving a lot more in a day, not having to work nights, even generating more revenue.

Now you have a better understanding of where your time goes, here are a few areas where you can afford to be 'good enough';

Research

We all want to make sure we get the best deal.

We read reviews, check the specifications, hunt for discounts...

However, we have all fallen down the rabbit hole of research and online shopping. Calculate if it is worth your time to conduct extensive, bullet-proof research. Put it this way; a car, maybe; a new box of washing detergent, no.

One of my clients once took weeks to place her first online grocery order because she wanted her list to be perfect. She didn't shop in the store like that. She lost all the time savings of online shopping when she fell into that black hole of time wasting.

If you have a Virtual Assistant, ask them to do some of your research. Example: I have mine research office supplies and equipment, saving me precious time but ensuring we get the right product and the best price.

Emails

It’s an email, not the Constitution.

I’m not saying be unprofessional, rude or overly short, but think about it this way... if you spend 10 seconds, six times a day just sending 'thank you, I received your email' responses, you lose 6 hours out of your life every year.

Emails also do not need to be literary masterpieces.

  • Keep them short. Don't overburden the recipient with too much information or too many requests.
  • Put your request, action or question at the beginning of the email. Otherwise, it might be missed.
  • Be clear.

It is also important that you don't abuse email. Stop sending multiple one line emails every day. If you are regularly compiling emails for particular people, keep it in a draft and add to it throughout the day. Both you and the recipient will be glad for the reduction in inbox clutter.

If you work as part of a team, set guidelines around your email communication; like keep them short, no need to acknowledge receipt, minimum chit chat etc. At least then you set expectations that you aren't being rude, just efficient :)

Housework

Do you have palpitations when you see crumbs on your coffee table? Are you constantly pottering trying to keep everything in a state of perfection? Do your clothes drawers look like a display table at Gap?

I used to clean my entire house every week, but a few years ago I realized I was spending my time cleaning rooms we rarely use. It was a struggle at first, but I broke the habit.

There is a difference between a healthy level of cleanliness and having dog hair all over the sofa. You can be neat and clean, without disinfecting every surface weekly.

If you minimize clutter, you will immediately make your home look cleaner. Splitting your cleaning tasks, so you complete half the clean one week, and half the next is a good way to save a couple of hours a week. If you are in the position to and you have the ability to relinquish control over your cleaning, then maybe hiring a cleaner might give you the headspace you need.

I have a House Manager once a week for three hours. She cleans, does my laundry and prepares and chops vegetables for me. It saves me time and money (in takeaway) and ensures I have no excuse not to eat healthily.

Is this the right approach for you?

I don’t recommend the good enough approach with all of my clients, but if you tend to get sucked into rabbit holes or feel that your rigid perfectionism holds you back, then this might just be for you! Make small changes and see how you feel.

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

This post was written by our friend and avid focus booster user, Marcey Rader. She is the founder of the Work Well. Play More!® Institute (WWPMI) and Marcey Rader Coaching. WWPMI is disrupting the status quo of ill health and reactive behaviors by empowering teams to eat for energy, find movement opportunities to increase creativity, efficiently control the inexhaustible inbox and best manage their time so they can Work Well and Play More!® Marcey is the bestselling author of two books and hosts a webinar called How to Boost Your Productivity Without Working Harder.