I’m writing this post quickly just to illustrate my point.

August 3rd, 2013 | Posted by Alison Spath in Life

This is my new mantra when it comes to getting stuff done around the house:

Done is Better Than Perfect

(even this image is not perfect, but I’m leaving it!  It’s done!)

One day last week I was feeling particularly frustrated with how far behind I was on the house work. Life with a busy, active, won’t-stop-climbing-the-tables-and-chairs toddler makes things… interesting.

There was a pile of dishes in the sink, pots and pan on the counter, more kitchen clutter and dishes on the other counter, the floor was dirty – the mess was driving me nuts and I just couldn’t get to it with Monkey Boy Kaz in the kitchen with me.  I’m also sure I was procrastinating because I felt so buried by it all I didn’t even know where to start.

I conceded temporary defeat and finally took Kaz upstairs to play in the playroom (where there is nothing to climb!) and plunked down on the floor with Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg (the Chief Operating Officer at Facebook).  As a woman who left a career in technology to stay home with my children, I don’t necessarily agree with everything Sheryl has to say about working outside the home and motherhood – but I was pushing through the chapters on this subject when happened upon the exact nugget of wisdom that I needed at that very moment:

Done is better than perfect.

She says that a poster with these words in big red letters hangs on the wall at Facebook, and she uses this phrase in her personal life when it comes to balancing her life at home and at work.

Is this really what Facebook encourages in their engineers and developers?  That “Done” is better than “Perfect”?  Whether you’re a fan of the social media giant or not, Facebook is obviously doing something right, and at that moment I decided if this approach is good enough for Facebook, I could at least give it a try in my own damn kitchen.

As soon as Kaz was bored and ready to move on to something new, I asked the girls to help entertain him for 15 minutes while I got to work on Mt. Dishmore.  “Done is better than perfect”?  Fine.  Let’s get the dishwasher loaded, the pots and pans can wait until his next nap or until Zak gets home or after bedtime or even tomorrow morning.  The kitchen won’t be perfectly clean and tidy, but at least part of the mess will be taken care of and will be that much closer to “perfect”. (*snort*)

And so that’s exactly what I did.  As soon as I was “done”, I scribbled those exact words on a piece of paper and stuck it to the fridge so I wouldn’t forget about it.  It’s been less than a week, but I’m embracing this phrase and now allowing some hope of perfection keep me from getting started, even if I only manage to get part of it done.

I’m sharing this story for anybody else out there who is struggling with too much to do and not enough time to do it all: sometimes Done is better than Perfect.  Just get it done and move on.

And with that, Kaz is up from his nap and my time at the computer is over.  This post is not perfect (or funny) but it’s done.

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7 Responses

  • Katheryn says:

    I totally agree with this post. It’s funny how I had just two kiddies for 5 years, and while I wasn’t ‘perfect’, I did a great job of keeping up with everything and giving everyone plenty of attention. Having baby #3 a year ago totally changed that. Like you, I had to go with the done is better than perfect.

  • jen says:

    I live by something similar – something is better than nothing. Cheesy huh? i realized years ago I could do a half assed job vacuuming and push toys out of the way with the vacuum cleaner.. or I could just not vacuum until the floor was clear (hahahahahahahaaaahahahaaha *thud*) so I chose the former, because hey, less crumbs and grit right? I’ve also learned I can unload the dishwasher in less than the 3 minutes it takes me to boil water for tea. I love cramming little things in small times like that.

    • haha, I too have figured out that I can start a pot coffee and have the dishwasher unloaded by the time it’s done. It’s a fun little race – the dishwasher is unloaded and I am rewarded with coffee! Wheee!

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