DONE is better than PERFECT

Procrastination and perfectionism are two negative traits of agency leaders that stop us from getting things done - we often tell ourselves stories that something isn’t good enough or we’re not sure about it or we need to know more before we can create some content or launch a new product or service, and that keeps us stuck. So in today’s podcast I want to talk about one of my favourite expressions ‘done is better than perfect’.

Time Stamp

[01:26] The origins of ‘done is better than perfect’

[02:00] Perfectionism is a fast track to failure

[02:40] Getting something done is so much better than hanging on to it because you feel it isn't yet perfect

[03:28] When is good enough, good enough?  Your target audience will answer this question

[04:15] 10 reasons why you should get things done and off your plate

[04:29] 1. You get results faster!

[04:47] 2. Getting something done is overwhelmingly satisfying while perfection may keep us tweaking something forever.

[5:00] 3. Remember done is not over, you can still develop your craft, your idea, and your project

[05:16] 4. Done rather than perfect means you avoid paralysis

[05:43] 5. You're more realistic

[06:11] 6. You save time

[06:38] 7. You are more productive

[07:03] 8. You stop procrastinating

[07:25] 9. You overwork

[07:45] 10. Ultimately, you get burned out

[08:30] If you get lost in the detail then stop, and remind yourself of the context

[09:20] Understand your minimum standard and start there

[09:45] An example of getting a PDF guide designed

[10:43] Write DONE IS BETTER THAN PERFECT on a post-it and remind yourself of it frequently


“No one is going to get rich off an idea that stays an idea (because you feel it isn't perfect yet).” - Rob Da Costa
“Take off your perfectionist hat and remind yourself of the purpose of the task at hand and who the audience is.” - Rob Da Costa

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 Full Episode Transcription

Procrastination and perfectionism are two negative traits of agency leaders that stop us from getting things done. We often tell ourselves stories that something isn't good enough or we're not sure about it. Or perhaps we think we need to know more before we can create some content or launch a new product or service. And, that thinking keeps us stuck. So in today's episode of The Agency Accelerator podcast, I want to talk all about one of my favourite expressions, which is done, is better than perfect. So let's get on with the show.

I'm Rob Da Costa, and this is The Agency Accelerator podcast. As someone who has stood in your shoes, having started to grow and sold my own agency, I know just how it feels during the ups and the downs of agency life. So this podcast aims to ease your journey just a little by sharing mine and my guest's experiences and advice. As you navigate your way to growing a profitable, sustainable and enjoyable business, I've got a number of favourite expressions that I use all the time with my clients. In fact, if you've listened to this podcast over the past few years or watch my YouTube channel or you read my content.

Then you know, I say often things like slow down to speed up. In other words, slow down now to reap the benefits further down the line. Or perhaps when it comes to staff, step up or step out because we can't afford to have underperforming staff. Sitting in our agencies for too long and another one of my favourite expressions is done is better than perfect. So today's podcast. I want to dig into that in a little bit more detail. First of all, I'm not quite sure who originally said this phrase.

I did a bit of research before I started recording this episode, and it could be attributed to Benjamin Franklin. Or it could be Sheryl Sandberg when she was still on Facebook in the early days. Apparently, they had this phrase plastered all over their walls. But whoever originated it, thank you because it's a great expression to remember and to live by. So why is that? Well, really fundamentally, because perfectionism is a fast-tracked failure, lots of entrepreneurs and agency owners describe themselves as rather proud of being a perfectionist.

They almost wear it as a badge of honour. But by definition, they are doomed to fall because they will never be able to do anything well enough because we can't. Quite frankly, we're never going to be perfect. And more importantly, they will never see that the work that their team does is good enough. And that results in them wanting to hang on to everything, to be in control of everything and ultimately to be a poor delegators. And that leads to them becoming the bottleneck in their agency.

And, a tonne of stress for them and everybody else. Getting a task done and getting out there is so much better than hanging onto it and not getting it done at all. And my task, I mean things like getting a new website launched on your landing page on your website. Or perhaps you're working on that freebie guide and you're being a perfectionist and you really want to craft even more and you're not getting out there or it could be a webinar that you're putting together.

Or it could be a new product or service and, of course, a big advantage of getting it out there sooner than later is that you start getting feedback from people, and when you get feedback, you can start hearing what real people think and start making improvements to it that are going to be relevant to your audience, not just improvements that you're trying to make because you're being a perfectionist. And of course, if you get it out there and it's a product or service, then you're also going to start making money because no one is going to get rich from an idea that stays an idea and never gets launched to the world because you think it's not quite perfect yet.

So instead, you need to ask yourself is good enough. Good enough and you mustn't lose sight of who this thing is for. Let's imagine that you're putting together a new website as an example. You've got to think about who the customer is, and when you look at your website, you want to say is good enough, good enough? Is it representing our brand and is it going to communicate with our audience in a way that will really hit home for them? Will it be useful for my customer if It's a new product or service or a freebie that you're creating, as I said, doesn't represent your brand well enough.

And if the answer is yes, even if you feel like it could be better, you need to get it out there and then take an intuitive approach and start using the feedback to improve it. So that's not enough evidence for you about why done is better than perfect. I want to share with you 10 reasons why you should get things done and get them out there. It's Number one is that quite frankly, you just get results. Whereas if you're a perfectionist, you either don't get things done because of fear of failure.

Or you spend too much time sweating the small stuff, perfecting the little details, which actually are irrelevant, and you lose sight of the goal at hand. So that's what tip number one is. You start getting results. Reason number two is that getting something done is overwhelmingly satisfying, whereas perfectionism just keeps us tweaking things forever. And it doesn't feel good because we feel like we're stuck and we're not making any kind of progress. Tip number three is that remember that getting something done doesn't mean it's over. You can still keep developing your craft.

Your idea. Your project, your pdf, your website. It just means that you're getting it out there and you'll start and get real-time feedback, which means you can improve it. Number four is that done rather than perfect means. You avoid paralysis and when you got that constant fear of failure and of not being good enough, perfectionism puts you in a state of paralysis, where you feel stuck and you can't get anything done. And as a result, you choose to settle for not doing anything at all.

So I'm sure we've all been there, So getting something done rather than trying to be perfect, means you avoid paralysis. That's number four. Number five is that you become much more realistic. There is nothing realistic about striving for perfectionism in your tasks, and by definition, the task will never be good enough. What matters is getting things done and setting more realistically moralistic goals and, importantly, a healthy standard for yourself and your others. And the key thing about this is to stand in your customer's shoes because they're the ones that matter, not your ego or your perfectionism traits.

Number six is that you save time. So this is a pretty obvious one, really. But striving for perfection is the most time-consuming task you'll ever undertake, and you end up obsessing over one tiny detail that may or may not be significant to the overall output and to how the customer will perceive you. So learn to be content with being done as it saves you more time in the long run. So tip number seven or the reason number seven is that you are going to be more productive when you spend your time perfecting something.

Productivity plummets. You get completely tunnel vision and go down that rabbit hole. And this is a lesson that perfectionists have to learn the hard way because no matter how hard you try, you can't strive for perfection and be productive at the same time. So you need to make a choice. So reason number eight is that you procrastinate when you can't let go of something, because it's not quite perfect. Yet you end up procrastinating, and that leads you to perhaps facing cost overruns. And, of course, it may not satisfy your client because you end up being late with your delivery.

So there's a real knock-on effect to being a perfectionist and holding onto things. Number nine, which is kind of a follow on from number eight, is that you end up working massively long hours. Perfectionists tend to lose sight of the bigger picture. They get lost in the minute in the detail. They make things way more complex than they need to be. And consequently, they work long hours and probably over service clients in the process which leads to leads me to my 10th point, which is you end up burning out so every perfectionist will tell you that it was never the road that they intended to take.

It may have seemed attractive and, as I said earlier, puffing up the feathers, they are perfectionists. But if it's a trait that they don't recognise early and change, then ultimately it's going to lead to loads of stress and burnout both for you, the perfectionist and for the knock-on effect for your team, if you have one so done is better than perfect. I mean, if you shake your head listening to those 10 reasons perhaps you suffer a bit from perfectionism, as most entrepreneurial agency owners do.

You should be shaking your head, and you should also be acknowledging that done is better than perfect. And if you get lost in the detail, then stop. Stand back, think about the context of the bigger picture and make sure you're achieving those goals and that you aim to take off your perfectionist. How your perfectionist, bad badge of honour and you get the job done because done is better than perfect. So I think that's a phrase that a lot of us probably want to stick on our walls and remind ourselves of this.

And one of the reasons that's a good man to have in front of you is because it will often make you stop and think, what is it I'm trying to achieve here? The number of times I've spoken to clients that are working on a website, their new website, and it overruns and overruns and overruns. And of course, it overruns because it's at the bottom of their priority list. They're serving clients, but it also overruns because they think it's not quite right now, of course, there's a certain standard that you need to reach so you don't have grammatical errors.

You don't want to have functionality that doesn't work. You and you want to make sure it represents your brand. But it doesn't have to be an all-singing, all-dancing version that you are spying for in your head aspiring to in your head. Rather, it can be version one that's going to be good enough better than what you had before. And you remember that Done is better than perfect. It's the same with, a pdf freebie. I've spoken to clients before who wrote really great guides, but they feel like they've got to then go and outsource it to a designer to get it designed.

And that's just stopping the marketing from happening. And then they're getting frustrated because they've got a hole in their order book, when in fact they could just use a platform like Canberra and a standard template to get it done and get it out there because done is better than perfect. And of course, by getting out there, they can start reaping the rewards of engaging with potential clients and building up their email list and all the rest of it. They can't do any of that while it's sitting, waiting for a designer to design it, and then for it to go through several iterations.

Because in that case, the client has lost sight of its purpose of it. And the purpose of that, in that context is to provide some genuine value to their audience, to start building credibility for themselves and start building a relationship with new leads that will potentially one day become a client. So done is better than perfect. So I hope that's a useful thought for you. And like I say, write that down and put it on your wall somewhat, because it's something we should all live by.

And as I said, by definition, a lot of entrepreneurs are very controlling. They've got their own exact standards which many people can never live up to. So you have to say to yourself, Is it good enough and done is better than perfect? So on that note, you found that useful short episode with a few insightful points, I hope. And if you enjoyed it, please make sure you hit the subscribe button, Please. If you listen to on Apple podcast leave a review. And if you're listening on YouTube, please make sure you've hit the subscribe button and give me the thumbs up.

Because, like Apple podcast, that helps the algorithm show the video or the podcast to more people just like you. Which means I can help more people just like you. But other than that, have a fantastic rest of the week, and I will see you next week on The Agency Accelerator podcast.

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