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04 2012

WorkHacks to Amp Up Your Week #5: Why Excellence is screwing you up

Syndicated from: Box of Crayons

This is the month for changing how you get things done. This is the week for getting charged up on how to do it. This is the blog to show you how. Would you like an A with that? There’s an unspoken assumption that everything you’re doing, you’re going to do well. Really well. In fact, being the driven-and-somewhat-ambitious person you are, you’re likely to want to push for excellence in all you do. You want that ‘A’. Of course, you secretly know that that standard is being compromised all the time, what with the overwhelming amount of work you’ve got coming at you. But equally secretly you suspect that if you could just get it all together you’d deliver at a Generally Awesome Standard All The Time. Pah! Abandon Excellence I think this drive for excellence is impossible and it creates misery. I’m not saying abandon excellence. (OK, I know I did in the sub-heading there, but bear with me.) I’m saying abandon your general standard of excellence. Here’s what I want for you. Do your Good Work – your every day, got to get through it work – at an adequate standard. Do your Great Work – your this matters, this is what I care about work – at a jaw-droppingly amazingly standard. Adequate? Yes, adequate. I know “adequate” sounds remarkably like “inadequate”, but in fact they’re quite different. Adequate means “good enough”. It means “sufficient”. And every time you upgrade the time and effort and energy you spend on your Good Work from Adequate to Excellence, you’re wasting time and effort and energy you might otherwise be directing to your Great Work. Don’t hack yourself If you’re like me, you might learn this over-fussing with your Good Work is a cunning way you get to avoid doing the Great Work. Because Great Work is a step into the unknown, a step outside and up to the edges of your own competence, ambition and hope. And in many ways, it’s a whole lot more comfortable to stay Busy Busy with the Good Work and never quite get round to the Great Work that will challenge you and push you. Here’s the question “What’s ‘good enough’ for this?” Try it out. See where you’re overworking.   Is this just crazy talk, or is there something to it? Let me know in the comments. By the way – if you’ve enjoyed this post, you’ll love the Great Work Provocations, a nifty Monday – Friday email series.

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