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When Is It Okay not to Be Perfect?

When can you tell if your work is “good enough” without being mediocre?  Your work is a clear reflection of yourself. While this is so true, you must understand that the output you produce does not always have to be perfect because it cannot  be that way all the time. Sometimes, there are factors that you need to consider before spending all of your precious time pouring over a project that it already becomes counterproductive. Yes, it does happen, even to a person who is not a perfectionist.

So how can you tell if the work that you turn out is truly okay without being branded as substandard, or worse, mediocre? When is “good enough” actually very good under the circumstances? Here are four situations.

When you can’t seem to make up your mind


It happens all the time. You are faced with two or three approaches on how to make that one-hour presentation to the Board, and you know that all of them are great choices. You are tasked to come up with the material based on what you think would be the best choice. Since you believe that you might miss out on something if you choose one over the other, you are now in a dilemma on where and how to start.

When you can’t make up your mind and are bogged down by indecision, simply choose and commit to one. Chances are, whatever alternative you pick would do just fine. Do not be afraid to make a stand and trust your judgment.

When meeting a deadline is more crucial than anything else

Here is another classic situation. Your boss calls you into his office and instructs you to make a twenty-page report complete with figures, your analysis, recommendations, and images to match the information. It’s not going to be a problem if you would be given a week to work on it.

But as it turns out, he needs it first thing tomorrow morning. So you work on your calculations and analysis first and now spend time on writing the text material. In this case, you need not prioritize the look of your report over the accuracy of the information you’ll present. Efficiency is key in this case, and your main objective should be to finish the report. Getting it done on time is the only thing that matters, at least for the moment.

When the general feedback from colleagues is okay


Most of the time, we are too hard on ourselves that we don’t see what the others see in us. It’s much like when we think that we are fat when other people would tell us that we’re not.

A great way, if not the only way to evaluate the work that you’ve done is to ask plainly for feedback. If they say that you did a good job, then acknowledge their feedback (and praise) and accept it. Don’t obsess over the thought that you could have done better or you should have done this and that because that is not going to help at all. Take it from your colleagues and even your boss if they only have good things to say about your output.

When you are able to deliver what is expected of your job

You are expected to do your job and so you need to get the job done as expected. While it is admirable when you set high expectations for yourself, it is also understandable that things do not always fall into place or go according to plan – not because you’ve not worked hard enough, but because there are certain things that are beyond your control. Accept the fact that not every bit of work can be your ultimate best. It doesn’t mean you’re settling for something less, but it means you’re just being realistic and operating within the limits of your situation.

Keep in mind that your work need not make your boss shed tears of joy nor applaud with such gladness.  He just expects you to do something that he has asked so don’t complicate matters that are quite simple. Make your life less stressful by focusing on the task at hand and directing your productive energy towards getting the job done.


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