You would really think I would know better. After all I live and breathe this time management stuff, right? Well, it turns out I get sucked in just like everyone else and sometimes you get the reminders where you least expect them.
In this past week we have had two birthdays and a birthday party at our house. I always like to make the birthday cakes and this year my kindergartner was going for a Star Wars theme. Having agonized over a chocolate Death Star for hours I was debating adding yet more detail when my husband reminded me “they are 6 years old – they are not a tough crowd!”. And, true enough 14 6 year old boys were very excited to be eating a bit of the Death Star, even the pizza guy was impressed!
It was brought home to me even more forcefully on the day of the actual birthday when I had a lot less time to come up with another cake. The Millennium Falcon (Hans Solos ship, for those non Star Wars addicts) was the subject this time. I had a lot less time available, so it was a quick job, no time for a crumb coating (this is the coating you put on to stop the crumbs mixing with the frosting on the final layer) so the cake showed through the frosting a bit. I got myself in a bit of a tizzy over this and even felt a bit guilty that it was not “perfect”! And yet he was blown away, just as much as by the previous labor of love.
It turns out that good enough was indeed good enough, if not better.
So I figured if I, who should know better, get sucked into this perfectionistic waste of time then perhaps we all need a little reminder from time to time.
Some people have a tendency towards perfectionism, needing to have their reports just so, always wanting to have everything just right. And while this is a great quality it can also lead to a lot of stress and time management problems.
If this is something you recognize in yourself then you need to beware. If you are not sure, then ask your friends and family.
Remember it is much easier to get the first 80% of an assignment than the last 20%.
So if you have a time crunch and a have choice between perfecting what you have already done and starting the next assignment that is due take the easy option. 2 assignments at 80% will do more for your GPA than a 100% and a zero!
Next time you are agonizing over a project or a task and you feel you just need more time to get it just right, think about Star Wars Cakes and consider whether good enough is in fact good enough.
If you are struggling to control your time and get the results you know you are capable of then it is time to take action.
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