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Perfectionism – it’s a waist waste of time

 

Churchill said perfectionism is the enemy of progress. And in many respects, he is right. In a field where creative endeavours are part and parcel of everyday life and by the very nature of presenting your work you open yourself up to criticism from the client and the subjective masses which makes perfection a lofty goal but can also be debilitating.

We discussed this very topic recently on our podcast – listen to the Perfection ep here)

I’ll be honest, we often struggle with getting things absolutely perfect for a job. Not for lack of want or skill mind you but because it’s the nature of the beast… and perhaps it is unattainable in the first place but more on that later.

We aim to achieve best results for the job at hand, be it a:

  • higher ROI on the next advertising campaign;
  • more brand awareness than a competitor from a social campaign;
  • Or more signups from a membership drive.

By setting your sights on a high but attainable goal you can save a lot of hassle and heartache.

TIME AND MONEY IN MARKETING

Time is a factor on two fronts

  • The client has paid a certain amount for a result and we have estimated how much time we will spend on delivering the outcome. So when we are in the studio we will design until it’s of a quality that will achieve said result.
  • Of course, time is money in any business but it’s not the only reason time is a factor because time is also time. It’s fleeting and unfortunately, we don’t have a secret pause button – if you have one though DM me – I’m willing to pay, I’m not picky even a slo-mo feature I’ll take.

 

We have deadlines so we can’t spend endless hours on anything although we may want to for the simple fact that we don’t have all the time in the world. The deadlines can be client driven ie we need this product launch to happen by this date and also society driven in our social media driven world we have a very short news cycle and attention span – so we have to be agile and reactive when it comes to creating strong, shareable content. You may want to jump on the latest news item that is brand adjacent and have a view point and you have to write, design, edit, approve all before it’s forgotten about and more importantly before your competitor has beaten you to the punch.

FALLACY?

Perhaps that’s why being a perfectionist is flawed because there is no such thing as perfect.

We often look for perfection in all elements of our lives and it can lead to a waste of time. Interestingly, there is a subbranch of mathematics called “optimal stopping” and having its roots in theories of the sunk cost fallacy

A little explanation of optimal stopping you aim to stop what you are doing at the right time. And that time is 37%… 37% of what you were planning on spending to establish a basis of your decision and then the next one that exceeds that is the winner – and you have to commit for it to work consistently.

This can be great for design but even more perfect for something like image search, where the list of options could be endless.

THE KEY TO THRIVING

Process is the key to circumventing perfection and lead to the desired end goal. In fact, process creates a perfection that is often overlooked. Part of the process is what I have already alluded to setting your KPIs and defining your time allowed. Having a strategy and dedicated phase of work will allow the idea to evolve. And having the process can actually prevent procrastination which can be a real enemy of quality work.

So accept that there is no such thing as perfect – stop critiquing every little thing, stop waiting for Mr/Mrs Right, stop expecting everything to go 100% according to plan and you will not only be happier but get a lot more done.

And now that’s all said, here’s something that is very nearly perfect:

THE CREATIVE MOMENT

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Written By: Rob