I’ll admit it, I am a recovering perfectionist. I know many of you probably struggle with the same problem and I am here to tell you that it is ok! A while back I was reading an article that really resonated with me about perfectionism in production and how to cope with it. While working on a recent project this article came to mind again. Mike Sessler writes:
“The 90% principle is an attempt to quantify the threshold. That is, at what point does it stop making sense to keep working on or spending money on something. As you can guess, I suggest that point is 90%. But 90% of what? Let’s say that 100% is perfect, the best something can possibly be, whether it’s a product (like a speaker system), or a project (like a video edit). My supposition here is that once we get to 90% of perfect, we can generally stop.”
Now before all of the perfectionists decide to turn their back on me, hear me out. This principle is essentially about diminishing returns: At what point will the general population be able to tell the difference when you add the last 10% to the project? At what cost does the 10% come? Sessler argues in his article that most of the time the last 10% will be such a subtle difference that you will be the only one able to tell the difference between the 90% complete and 100% completed versions. I think that looking at projects like this is a helpful way to lead a happier and less stressful work life because it sets a boundary for yourself. There is a point where you have to be finished with a project and get it out the door instead of obsessing on it for so long that it is no longer relevant. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter, sound off in the comments!
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