I’m sure you have received the message many times that everything you do should be done to the best of your ability. This just does not make sense! This strategy is highly costly in terms of the effort required, and means that overall you’ll get far less done.
Take Joe. Joe is a skilled engineer with a small team. Two or three times a year he presents to the board on the status of his projects. Now, does Joe need to give a presentation that Tony Robbins would be proud of? Of course not.
You’ve probably heard of the 80/20 rule – 80% of the results for 20% effort. If Joe aims for a 100% perfect presentation it’s going to take a lot of effort. This is not Joe’s main activity so doing one-fifth of the effort to get an 80% presentation is good enough. By doing this Joe also can use the other 80% of effort not used on the presentation for his other routine activities.
Out of all the things you do, do you know which need to rate 100%? What activities do you do where 80% would be good enough?