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Perfectionism is a double-edged sword: On the one hand, it helps achieve a goal with mastery. For example, one is undoubtedly grateful when the doctor performs perfectly during heart surgery. But perfectionism can also prevent you from completing something in the first place and/or lead you to neglect other things that are also important.

Therefore, the art is to carefully calculate where top performance is truly worthwhile and necessary and where “good enough” is sufficient. I maintain that “good enough” is sufficient in 95% of cases, even if we sometimes refuse to admit it.

To become more productive, the 80/20 principle described in Chapter 6 yields the most significant leverage: According to this principle, 80% of a result can be achieved with just 20% of the funds. This can be used effectively to counteract excessive perfectionism. Take planning for a wedding dinner. Two hours of planning (= 20%) will be only slightly less “perfect” than if you invest ten hours (= 100%). On the other hand, you can use the “saved” eight hours to do many other things that are also important (e.g., select wedding invitations and then decide after only 20% search time to turn your attention to other things).

If perfectionism is not an issue for you, you have the day off.

Even if you don’t feel like a perfectionist, but you’ve been told repeatedly that you are extremely thorough or even obsessive, consider yourself a perfectionist. This lack of recognition is akin to not perceiving your strengths yourself because they seem so natural to you.

Your task for today:

Reflect on the areas in which you would like to do things perfectly in the past and in which you could achieve an equally good result in the future with considerably less effort, energy, or time. Then, for an area of your choice, decide to “take it easy” and be satisfied with “good enough.” Ideally, find something to practice on today. Otherwise, note it in your calendar when you have a task where you can practice the 80/20 principle.

You will employ this principle – good enough is sufficient – in your business, when providing pragmatic and creative solutions to make your customers happy. You will not have the time or the energy to do everything perfectly.

Perhaps you place a lot of value in doing certain things just so. Like most of us, check whether you have “built” too many things into your life where perfectionism creates stress. That’s an indicator that it’s time to separate yourself from things that you’ve packed into your daily life over the years. Don’t worry! You’ll be given a task for that tomorrow.