The law of diminishing returns states that all processes have a point at which further improvement does not translate into better results. Perfectionism shows up as paralysis by analysis, over planning, or just good old fashioned procrastination. When we seek perfection in a process or system, it is often at the cost of revenue generating activities. It is time to focus on progress, not perfection.
Before we get into it, I want to point out that research suggests that procrastination may be linked to impulse control. The WSJ article is worth study if this keeps showing up in your life, (also found here on Reddit)
Perfectionism often manifests as a list of excuses: “I am not going into the field because I am busy building my process” or “wouldn’t it be easier if we had a mail merged form for this, I think I will take next week off and build that” or my personal favorite, “I haven’t hit my goals because operations couldn’t handle my full effort.”
I am a proponent of setting time aside each week to work on your business. I also advocate for providing the highest levels of service possible. The issue is the paralysis of imperfection. Potentially great performers are afraid to make the call because they don’t have the perfect script, or the perfect operations, or the perfect product.
There is always something. Some external circumstance or situation that challenges your view of perfect. Because of that, perfectionism is the enemy of potential. Top performers move forward in spite of the challenges, every day. What you say is less important than making the dial, sending the e-mail or doing the work.
They do their best and manage expectations effectively along the way.
Overcoming the need for perfection is the key to unlocking your potential. Below are four things you can do now.
1) Have brutal clarity around your goals.
2) Understand the keystone habit that gets results and make it, the priority.
3) Block ON time for process improvement and stick to it.
4) Know the gaps in your current system and manage expectations around it.
Make the call. Do it now.