How to Slay Perfectionism

Photo by Robert Couse-Baker

On Monday, Ifdy wrote about why small is better than big, especially if you’re a small nonprofit with limited resources.


She wrote that smaller projects “help you quickly develop programs and respond to the important things.”

Realistic resource assessment (and acceptance) is an important part of your nonprofits success. In addition to getting sober about what can and cannot be done, perfectionism must be slayed, or at least re-defined.

Isn’t perfection good?

Since you were a kid, your parents, teachers, and friends taught you that perfection is what you must strive for. It’s the peak, the destination.

But the problem with perfection is that it’s not attainable. And because it’s not attainable, you’ll always find reasons why your website’s not ready to launch, your video still needs editing, and your Facebook Page isn’t ready for prime time. You wait until it’s perfect, and nothing gets done!

How to Slay Perfection Like a Boss

Here are a few ideas for slaying the perfectionist in you (it’s in everyone, by the way):

  • — View everything as a draft. Especially your online media. The nature of the web is constant flux where you need to constantly test, measure, and adopt. Think beta.
  • — Define your goals. The more clear you are about your goals for each project, the less likely you’ll get sucked into an eight-hour vortex finding the right button for your donation page.
  • — Define 70%. Be clear about the items you need to check off in order to get the project out the door. The website doesn’t need the videos to be displayed in a popover just yet. That’s a nice-to-have-part of the remaining 30%.
  • — Know when a good idea goes stale. All ideas have a shelf life. If a week or so has gone by without any action towards your idea, that means it wasn’t a good idea.
  • — Measure. The benefit of getting something out the door–say a website–when it’s 70% done is that you get to measure it, and tweak it. The bubble of perfection always bursts when pricked with the needle of analytics.
  • — Iterate. This goes back to the first point. Redraft, launch, measure, repeat.

How do you deal with perfection?