If you listen to more than 2 episodes of Mike Murphy Unplugged, there is a good chance you hear me say done is better than perfect. I say it often as much to motivate my listeners as I do to keep myself in check. While I do not consider myself a perfectionist (maybe, semi), I want everything I create to be at the highest quality it can be. I push myself to be better at everything I am passionate about. I have spent years studying technology and software programs so I can be better at creating. I work in a high-end photography studio where we sell expensive artwork, so the quality has to be good. It does not have to take forever though. Quality takes time and that is okay, but the key is knowing when to stop. That is where most people struggle. We as creatives always want to fine tune and tweak and there is always room for improvement.
Set Due Dates & Calendar Alerts
Parkinson’s Law: work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.
The trick to knowing when to stop is due dates and deadlines, even if they are self-imposed. The more time you give yourself, the more time it will take. Use Parkinson’s Law to your advantage by limiting the time you have to create content. Creatives seem to work best under pressure, so if you struggle with hitting publish because you know you can do better, set due dates on everything and you will publish more. At the photo studio I manage, we are busiest around holidays. I design all the holiday cards and books, etc and they are time sensitive. People need to send out cards before Christmas. I design cards that are not perfect all the time because I have a deadline. The first year I struggled and beat myself up and each year my process improved and the quality of each design increased. Imagine that. Push yourself to create more and often and you will improve on every part of your personal and professional journey. Promise.
For example, rather than telling yourself you want to write or one blog post per week, put blog posts on your calendar on Wednesdays and you will start to treat it like any other appointment. Have the calendar remind you and it may drive you crazy with all of the alerts at first, but you will be more likely to get it done. You are simply creating habits for yourself to get things done. This is a big step in moving forward. I put every task I want to accomplish (blog post, videos, podcast episodes…) in Asana and they sync to Google Cal. I know if I don’t check off my tasks they are going to pile up and I’m going to feel behind and overwhelmed and that is not a place I ever want to be. I pride myself on being reliable and doing what I say and having the calendar hold me accountable is a mind hack that works for me. I encourage you to give it a try if you find yourself not creating content as often as you would like. You will start to develop a rhythm of getting things done and the quality will naturally progress as you go. Pretty good feeling.
Meet Mike Video: Done and far from perfect
I am behind in making videos, tutorials and classes partially because I set my standards too high to produce quality content and my subconscious pushes video down the to-do list. Videos take a lot of pre- and post-production time to make, but I will get faster and it will get easier after every video I upload to YouTube. This video is soft (focus is not always easy as one man band), the transitions of b-roll is choppy and not great, I have the background music just a little too low in volume, and my dialog is rough in spots. These are just a few of the problems. We are our own worst critics. Give yourself more credit. By hitting publish, some may fear others will think, ‘is this the best he can do? it’s terrible, look at all these imperfections…’ Or, you can hit publish and do what most people talk a lot about doing, but actually don’t do it and that is Create. Your critics will find flaws in everything you do and they are usually the people who talk a good game, but never actually do anything. Your audience and tribe will not be nearly as critical as you are on yourself and they will value your efforts in producing content. If you struggle with the fear of putting your work out there for people to see, please go watch one of my favorite videos that I watch a couple of times per year: The Gap by Ira Glass.
Here is a far from perfect video. Guess what, the next one will be better and I will be further ahead in the journey. #learn #create #move forward.
Hello, I’m Mike Murphy:
Originally published at www.mikemurphy.co on January 12, 2016.