Being a Perfectionist can Hinder Progress

12 replies
I had what some may call an epiphany today about my work and personality. I have always known that I am a perfectionist. I have been known to maybe even exhibit a little OCD (for example, I admittedly spend about 20 minutes a day reorganizing the pillows on my bed).

And in many cases, being a perfectionist when it concerns my work has offered the quality that I expect of myself and want for my clients, and usually works to my benefit (as well as that of my clients).

But today, I noticed after a few hours of fixing fonts, adding/removing the tiniest design details from some of my sites because to my eye, they either didn't look right or I just plain didn't like the alignment, I realized how much time I've wasted on things that REALLY DON'T MATTER. Perhaps another way of looking at this is that I lost my focus on the important goals.

This is something I have caught myself doing before, but I think today having seen how much time I've already wasted on the minor details, I realized that I have only hindered my progress to reach my goals for the day. Gives a bit more meaning to the phrase, "don't sweat the small stuff".

So the moral of my small epiphany is this: figure out what you KNOW is important to accomplish in order to progress your business further. And truly stick to the notion that you shouldn't sweat the small stuff. Being perfectionist isn't always a good thing and in fact can sometimes hinder your progress towards the bigger goal.
#hinder #perfectionist #progress
  • Profile picture of the author Kevin_Hutto
    In my experience one of the most important things in this business is speed of implementation. Because there are so many different things to work on - it is easy to never get anything for sale (especially if you are a perfectionist). So, the people who can crank out a product or website and improve on the fly as needed and be ok with it not being perfect - those are the ones that make the most money.
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  • Profile picture of the author AAManager
    That's so true...but sometimes, especially when you have big expectations from something, it needs to be PERFECT!
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  • Profile picture of the author WebPen
    Perfection is DEFINITELY a hindrance to marketers.

    It's MUCH better to have 1 project that was "pretty good" and making money than to have 10 projects that "will be AMAZING" but aren't making a dime yet.
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    • Profile picture of the author tedw
      Originally Posted by Justin Stowe View Post

      It's MUCH better to have 1 project that was "pretty good" and making money than to have 10 projects that "will be AMAZING" but aren't making a dime yet.
      Might make this my mantra thanks Justin! Cos at moment I'm in the latter!

      Being a perfectionist web developer can certainly hinder progress!
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  • Profile picture of the author Galvanized Design
    Have you read "The Art of the Start"? Brilliant commentary on exactly this issue. Think of where Apple, Microsoft, etc. would stand if they waited for that perfect final product as opposed to pushing out what they've got in good-enough form and providing updates/upgrades to their respective user bases over time. How many perfect launches have these companies had?
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    • Profile picture of the author Elizabeth Fee
      Originally Posted by Galvanized Design View Post

      Have you read "The Art of the Start"? Brilliant commentary on exactly this issue. Think of where Apple, Microsoft, etc. would stand if they waited for that perfect final product as opposed to pushing out what they've got in good-enough form and providing updates/upgrades to their respective user bases over time. How many perfect launches have these companies had?
      I'l have to check that out. The good thing is my business partner is much less of a perfectionist - and he is one of those that's great at implementation and then fixing things on the fly as we go.

      This is a challenge I face daily (in fact, being a perfectionist is probably my biggest challenge), so I am grateful not only for my partner as he keeps me in check, but for also having an outlet here to hear from others about the importance of keeping things in perspective for the greater goal that must be accomplished.
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      Elizabeth Fee
      The Niche Mom - My personal blog to inspire and guide you towards earning an income online.

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  • Profile picture of the author Jammy
    I absolutely agree!

    I was the same to can empathise completely. My turning point came when a friend challenged me to make a 12 page mini site in an hour. I was putting pages up with just a sentence just to get a page up before moving on to another page. 2 days later all of my pages were indexed in google. My turning point right there.

    Good luck to you moving forward
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  • Profile picture of the author JoeRockefeller
    That's an awesome epiphany. I too had suffered from the dreaded "Perfectionist" syndrome in the past, until one day when I had spent nearly the entire day fixing a website only to have the client ask me to return it to how it was before I started working on it.

    That's when it hit me. It made me realize that I was losing money being a perfectionist. The most difficult part was learning to become ok with being ok. It's hard but it can be done. As with everything, moderation is the key.

    Great epiphany
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  • Profile picture of the author Keith Everett
    What you might call perfect, someone else may not. Seeking perfection costs time (and money) and is nigh impossible to achieve anyway.. It's almost a more refined form of procrastination, would you agree?
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    • Profile picture of the author Elizabeth Fee
      Originally Posted by Keith Everett View Post

      What you might call perfect, someone else may not. Seeking perfection costs time (and money) and is nigh impossible to achieve anyway.. It's almost a more refined form of procrastination, would you agree?
      I do agree.... even though I was focused, I focused on such silly details, which in turn is a form of procrastination as it was preventing me from moving forward in the right direction.

      Great point, too, about how the idea of perfection is different for everyone.
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      Elizabeth Fee
      The Niche Mom - My personal blog to inspire and guide you towards earning an income online.

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  • Profile picture of the author theroadto2020
    Originally Posted by Elizabeth Fee View Post

    This is something I have caught myself doing before, but I think today having seen how much time I've already wasted on the minor details, I realized that I have only hindered my progress to reach my goals for the day. Gives a bit more meaning to the phrase, "don't sweat the small stuff".
    Sometimes it's good to follow what I would call 'the path of least resistance'. While I have not had a good look at who you are and what you do, let's use a blog + content as an example. Yes, you can spend 90% of your time making your blog look perfect, nice colours, fonts, pictures etc, it all means nothing if you you do not have regular quality content for people to keep on coming back. If someone is reading this and is just starting out, know little about WP (for eg), most important thing is to get wp installed with necessary plug-ins installed, then focus on putting good quality content on the site. Making the site look pretty can be outsourced or done later. Focus on quality content, published on a regular basis. Aim low, 1 a month for twelve months, then 2 a month for another 12 months, then 4 a month + syndicated content for 12 months and etc. If this is done, even with a default theme installed, I am sure the site will do well.

    Originally Posted by Elizabeth Fee View Post

    Being perfectionist isn't always a good thing and in fact can sometimes hinder your progress towards the bigger goal.
    Can I add that spending a lot of my spare time reading all these great posts hinders my progress towards the bigger goal. And I am the worst type of member, I read more than they post, but when there are so many good replies to a thread, and given my street cred, I don't think I can add any value. And not only am I not productive in my own journey, I am not even that active on these forums. I should stop consuming and start producing. Maybe I'll start with the stuff I have written above.....
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  • Profile picture of the author juggerna623
    I would like to add that outsourcing can also save you time that could be well spent on your business.

    Originally Posted by Elizabeth Fee View Post

    I had what some may call an epiphany today about my work and personality. I have always known that I am a perfectionist. I have been known to maybe even exhibit a little OCD (for example, I admittedly spend about 20 minutes a day reorganizing the pillows on my bed).

    And in many cases, being a perfectionist when it concerns my work has offered the quality that I expect of myself and want for my clients, and usually works to my benefit (as well as that of my clients).

    But today, I noticed after a few hours of fixing fonts, adding/removing the tiniest design details from some of my sites because to my eye, they either didn't look right or I just plain didn't like the alignment, I realized how much time I've wasted on things that REALLY DON'T MATTER. Perhaps another way of looking at this is that I lost my focus on the important goals.

    This is something I have caught myself doing before, but I think today having seen how much time I've already wasted on the minor details, I realized that I have only hindered my progress to reach my goals for the day. Gives a bit more meaning to the phrase, "don't sweat the small stuff".

    So the moral of my small epiphany is this: figure out what you KNOW is important to accomplish in order to progress your business further. And truly stick to the notion that you shouldn't sweat the small stuff. Being perfectionist isn't always a good thing and in fact can sometimes hinder your progress towards the bigger goal.
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