Paralysis from the Pursuit of Perfection

I’m particularly guilty of a bad habit of holding off sending a project off into the world until it is ‘just so.’

One manifestation of this is the ridiculous amount of time it took me to launch the ‘hello world’ post to this very blog.  Somewhere deep in my (BRAIN PART) there’s a series of synapse connections that screams  “If you’re not going to say something brilliant, shut the f**k up.”

Another example?  I am pretty much dissatisfied with even the most successful projects that cross my plate, primarily because I can look back and figure out what I/we should have done to make it more effective.

There are some positives to this mindset – I’m not going to pass along something that’s garbage.  You can consume that way too easily on your own.    I don’t think too much of the talking heads that spout unoriginal drivel into the world without providing any original insight or tangible use to the reader.   I fear for the re-tweet generation.  Because of the ridiculously low barrier to syndication on the net there are more and more individuals channeling repeats, and way too few networks investing in original content.

But it has real drawbacks.  To extend the 80/20 rule, the amount of effort required to move a project from 98% done to 99% is more than moving from 80% to 90%.  There are other projects that suffer, and you might get a lot more from a second project that’s ‘only’ highly effective.

So here are the rules that I use to try and kick those mostly done projects out the door.

  1. Commit to  a deadline
  2. Tell someone else about the deadline, preferably your boss or significant other, and make sure that they’re going to call you on it.
  3. Run through a ‘dress rehearsal’ release – where you run through all the actions of delivering the project, and then do a ‘pre-release-post-mortem’.
  4. Surround yourself with people that think differently.  Not idiots, but people who jump in feet first.  You will be driven nuts by your perception of their lack of attention to detail, but simply having them be wrong will move the process along.

What works for you?