11 March 2013

More Than Paper | Getting Things Done, Not Perfect

I've been doing a lot of "self-help reading for the entrepreneur" lately and working at turning these concepts into my reality.  I want to be more. 

I've read on a number of blogs recently about getting stuff done, not getting it pefect.  The "getting it done, not perfect" adage is something many of us have heard before, but what I've been reading is that people who are successful and at the top of their profession are not perfectionists.  They simply get things done.

The ability to get things done supercedes intelligence, talent, and financial resources in determining the rate of your success and profits.  It's a simple concept, but despite its simplicity, many people struggle with it.  Especially artists.  Anyone in an artistic field will often be heard saying "the artist's work is never finished." 

It's important to note that "not being perfect" is not a license to be sloppy or to present sub-standard work to a client. You can still make your clients happy, even ecstatically happy, without being perfect. Being successful is much more than just the end-product we deliver.  That's important, but I'm just saying there is a lot more to it than that. 

Ages ago, I was reading the blog of a wedding planner, whose name I cannot remember, but she wrote one thing that has stuck with me the past couple years.  She said that in order to achieve her level of success, she realized that she had to be "an entrepreneur first and a wedding planner second."   This is so true for anyone running any kind of creative business or service, where we tend to get too caught up in the smallest of details.   I've not been a graphic designer for very long, self-taught and still learning, but rememembering the words of this wedding planner keeps me going...and going hard.

In truth, only about 30-50% of my time is actually spent designing.   There is a lot of both front and back office work to do to run a business.  Fortunately, I had a number of excellent business administration and operations experiences in both the USA and in Dubai to give me the skills to do much of this quite easily and efficiently, so I guess I'm lucky on that front.  To now be able to blend those work experiences and my creative passions has been the opportunity of a lifetime and will hopefully put me on the road to huge success!

Here are a number of excellent reminders summarized from the book The Magic of Thinking Big by David J. Shwartz by the Pick The Brain blog on how to change your habits and re-train your brain to get stuff done:

1. Don't wait until conditions are perfect.  The best time to do something was last year, the second best time is right now.  Perfect as you go.

2. Be a doer.  Practice doing things rather than thinking or brainstorming too long about them.  Just go do it and learn as you go.

3.  Ideas and talent alone don't bring success.  Ideas and talent is important, but they only have value after being implemented.  If you have an idea and post it on the web, it's not even close to being done.  Go implement it first.

4.  Use action to cure fear.  Most fear and anxiety only comes during the waiting-to-do-something period.  Once you start doing it, it usually dissipates.  Think about public speaking. Once you start speaking, the butterflies go away.  Don't be afraid of making mistakes. Mistakes and even failure count as being done.  Learn.  Move on.

5. Start your creative engine mechanically.  If you sit around waiting to be inspired, your projects will be few and far between.  If you need to write something, sit down and start writing.

6. Live in the present.  Focus on what you can get done today, not what you didn't do last week or what you should do in the future. 

7. Get down to business immediately.  Instead of wasting time checking emails, reading the paper or blogs, talking on the phone, checking social media  or other things in the morning, get to work.  Stop procrastinating.

Well, these seven reminders offer some very useful advice. Some of them I think I am quite good at or have already implemented prior, but there are definitely a couple I need to improve upon.  Lastly, always remember that getting things done is not to finish, but to do more!

Now stop reading this blog and go get something done.  Cheers.

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