Sometimes Late, Sometimes Sloppy, But Done
There is a time for polishing, a time for getting things just right. Sometimes it’s necessary to be within a nanometer of precision. For example, I would hope the people designing airplanes take being perfect very seriously.
But it’s not always good to be perfect and in fact perfect is often more harmful than it’s worth. Perfect is the enemy of good.
For most of our work, what we’re aiming for is good enough, not perfect. Most of us aren’t designing and building airplanes.
You’re never going to find the perfect space, not for the right price, not at the right time, not with the right layout, not in the right neighborhood, not with the right landlord, not with the right restaurants around. It just never happens. There’s always something that makes it not perfect. But that doesn’t matter, because done is better than perfect.
If you’re goal is to build a space for your thriving community, at some point you need to open the doors and let people in.
No, I’m not saying pick the first thing or pick the easiest thing, whether a property or a business partner, just so it’s done. It still has to be good if you want the market or your community to resonate with it. I’m saying make it something you can work with, something you believe in so that it’s something you can sell or share without compromising your integrity.
The point is this. Sometimes (often?) you’ll do things that aren’t good enough. That’s called failure. But you never would have known whether it was good enough or not if you never shipped.
So yes, if spending an extra week polishing your project (and pushing your deadline) is going to make the project 10x better, push the date. But spending a few extra months agonizing over perfect? Waste of time. It’s time that could have been used to make something else in your organization good enough.
The only time done is worse than perfect is if you’re shipping something you don’t believe in. You get nothing out of that. No learning, no positive up side.
So whatever you’re polishing right now, whatever you’re procrastinating on shipping, tell yourself, “sometimes late, sometimes sloppy, but done.” That’s your new motto.