The Art Of Accepting Good Enough And Overcoming Perfectionism

Let’s talk about overcoming perfectionism and learning the art of accepting good enough instead.

I don’t think I’ve ever met a freelancer, certainly not a creative freelancer, who doesn’t describe themselves as a perfectionist.

Most of us think that’s a good thing, and in moderation, it can be. After all, you don’t want to be releasing work you are not proud of, or which is of poor quality. But if you are taking your business seriously, you have to draw a line here.

Table of contents:

  1. True perfectionist waste time and procrastinate
  2. Overcoming perfectionism with the 80/20 rule
  3. Have you tried the To-Do Clarity yet?
  4. Related articles

True perfectionist waste time and procrastinate rather than finishing work and putting it out into the world

The reality is that nine times out of ten, perfectionists are simply scared of failure or being judged negatively. This is usually motivated by the fact that if you never finish something, there’s no danger that you are going to be judged for it.

And there’s a cycle you can very easily fall into if you are a perfectionist. This perfectionism leads to procrastination and then to paralysis. If you get trapped in this loop, it can be very hard to escape.

The problem is, if you are aiming for perfection, then you are setting yourself always an impossible goal. And the truth is that the majority of tasks that you will need to complete in your freelance career don’t need to be 100% perfect.

Often, a project that is done is 100 times better than a project that is stuck or paused because you’re aiming for perfection.

So this is another area where you can apply the 80/20 rule, as a solution to overcoming perfectionism as a (creative) freelancer.

Overcoming perfectionism with the 80/20 rule

We all know that usually, 80% of the value comes from 20% of the work. So a good rule of thumb is to aim to complete your projects and your tasks to a standard that is 80% perfect. Once you’ve reached this 80 % point, the returns are increasingly diminutive. In addition, the chances are that nobody will even notice the difference.

What’s more, your clients will love you for this too, especially if you are charging them by the hour.

It’s very easy to spend multiple hours playing with a photo exposure, tweaking the design relentlessly, rewriting the sentence, and trying to get complete perfection. But if you sat your client down and offered these tiny improvements of the 20% saving on the cost of the project, most clients will almost certainly opt for the latter.

To be clear though, this isn’t the hard and fast rule of course. There are occasions when you’ll need to break this rule and put in the time to complete something to the absolute best of your ability.

But the concept that I want you to take away from this article is that aiming for perfection will often stop you from making a progress.

Instead, set out to release something good enough to do the job. That way you will make much more progress and you will get much more done.

Release your work as soon as it’s ready

Another good way to overcome perfectionism is to release something as soon as it’s ready. And then to improve it in increments afterwards.

As an example, let’s take a look at our To-Do Clarity tool. We have released it last week, in beta mode, so people can access it for free and give us their feedback. If we waited for the tool to be in the “perfect status”, we probably wouldn’t release it this year at all, and we couldn’t release it as a free tool either.

So what happened when we released it in its “imperfect” state?

We’ve got more than a hundred users within 48 hours of releasing the tool, users like that it’s a simple, straightforward tool – which are all things that we wouldn’t achieve if we were reaching for perfection.

And now based on users’ feedback, we will perfect it over time.

So amazing things can happen when you just let go of the idea of perfection and share the work with the world. And, if you are really struggling to do that, keep in mind wise words from Reid Hoffman:

If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.

Redi Hoffman

Now, I’d love to hear your thoughts and experience with overcoming perfectionism. So let me know in the comments!

Until next time,


Have you tried the To-Do Clarity tool yet?

Prioritise your tasks, make a to-do list that will help you invest your time in projects that will make the highest impact on your business, and watch your business grow!

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