One thing I’ve been thinking about recently is how I have strategies for success that are often opposing ideas. They actually coexist happily and I frequently switch from one to another. An example of this is the strategies of ‘Do it right’ and ‘Do it.’ Both are incredibly useful mindsets. Taking either approach will probably help you to be more successful, but learning the optimal times to use each one will have even more impact. Let’s first take a quick look at each of these philosophies.
Do it right
Do it right means taking the time to make it perfect.
Do it right means that you don’t leave any loose ends.
Do it right means that you don’t half-ass it.
Do it right means going through all of the cleanup afterward.
This is a BIG one for me. Taking the extra time needed to really do something right the first time around is sometimes a pain. I may be tempted to procrastinate or to just try to make it “good enough” or squeak by. More often than not, this creates more problems later. I’ll be bothered that it’s not right. I’ll have to go back and fix it. For a lot of projects, by the time I make it back to fix it, I’ve forgotten half the details I need to know and it takes longer to make it right than if I’d done it to start with.
An example would be taking the time to rename, organize, or delete files that I’ve used on a work task instead of leaving random clutter on my desktop in a folder called ‘New Folder (7)’. It’s a small step that’s easy to skip but it makes a difference later if I need to go back to those files and I don’t have to try to figure out later if they’re files I need or ones I can delete.
Do it means that it doesn’t have to be perfect.
Do it means that the important thing is getting your rear in gear.
Do it means that ‘good enough’ really is good enough.
Sometimes, it’s easy to feel that we have to do something perfectly and that if we don’t have the time or skills to make it perfect, we’ll use that as an excuse not to do a thing at all. Often times, it’s just easy to not do something. There are a lot of things that don’t need to be done perfectly. Sometimes, it’s OK to put in a mediocre effort, finish something, cross it off our list and move on to the next thing. Fear and the desire for perfection often hold us back from accomplishing a thing. ‘Do it’ is all about lowering our standards so that we can move past that.
For example, sometimes I feel like I sound dumb when I’m on the phone. I have to let go of that and just make my work calls because solving a problem for a customer is more important that if I sound like the most polished, professional support person.
Knowing when to use which
Do it right and do it are two very different principles and there are places for each of them. Asking yourself ‘How much does this matter?’ or ‘How long will the results from this last?’ can help you figure out which one to use.
If I’m working on the website for my business, it’s a ‘do it right’ sort of task. Lots of people will see it, and once I finish the changes, I’ll likely not be back to work on it for quite some time.
If I’m vacuuming the floor, it’s more of a ‘do it’ sort of task. If I get the high-traffic areas it’s generally good enough. The goal is to just keep the cat hair from accumulating, not to make it so I can eat off of the carpet and in 10 minutes the cat will come in after rolling in the dirt outside and proceed to roll all over the carpet anyway.
Keeping these approaches in your arsenal and making sure you’re using the right on for a particular task can really make a difference in your productivity and success.