02 May 2008

Do not spend too much time on a task!

Last week, I was having a discussion with some people at a conference about the relationship between productivity and quality. It dawned on me that not everybody had come to the realisation that you can too much time on getting something done well and this is something valuable to both individuals and organisations as it impacts both the enjoyment of our work and the bottom-line of our companies.

The big issue is that most people are, at heart, perfectionists. They want to make sure that everything is JUST RIGHT. Unfortunately, the economics of it do not make sense. Some years ago I realised that in advertising, clients will usually be happy with something that is perhaps 70% good and, because they don't know any better, this is exactly what the agencies deliver. Developing and executing an idea at 70% is, generally, quite easy and not necessarily that time consuming. Getting it from 70% to 100% will take ages and will add very little value to either the client or the agency's bottom-line. Personally, I've learnt to set my levels at about 85% (still a bit more of a perfectionist ;-)), but the last 15% would make no sense as I've come to realise that I'm the only one who would appreciate the extra effort.

Therefore, I was quite pleased to see that I was not the only one thinking about this and over at Lifehack.org there is an article about how to avoid overspending time on a task. If you've ever fallen into this particular productivity trap, I recommend you read the article as it could lead to a more productive and happier life - as well as increase the financial results.

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