How to beat perfectionism and its close cousin procrastination

In her new book Bossypants, Tina Fey says, ‘Perfect is overrated.’ Here’s how to make your drive for the perfect pitch, post, or proposal isn’t killing your productivity.

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In her very entertaining book Bossypants, Tina Fey warns against the evils of perfectionism—the enemy of so many creative projects. As she advises, “Perfect is overrated.”

Even busy agency folks struggle with impossibly high standards, particularly those who write for a living. What we do as PR pros can be frustratingly ephemeral, but a blog post, white paper, or other content tends to stick around. It’s tempting to keep working until every word is just so. Yet it’s not always a productive use of time.

Here are some proven strategies to beat perfectionism, and its close cousin, procrastination.

Quantify the improvement likely to come from your efforts. Then decide if it’s worth it. If another hour will improve your proposal by 40 percent, then spend the time. But if the enhancement is likely to be minimal—10 percent or less—it may be better to fight the urge.

Get fresh eyes on the situation. This is generally easy in an agency environment where a team structure is the rule. And someone else is far more likely to spot an error or notice an omission that might never have occurred to you, so it can be doubly helpful.

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