I have always struggled with the “done is better than perfect” advice

December 5, 2022

I’m Kelly Nolan.
I'm an attorney who'd been decently organized through law school but got quickly overwhelmed as a actual attorney. After nothing else worked for me, I created this system – and kept on practicing law. Years later, I found out others were interested in learning it, so that's what I do now! Let's get this realistic system in your hands so you can start living a life that feels more calm, doable, and that lights you up.
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I’ve always had perfectionist tendencies – I edit and re-edit things (including, sometimes, these posts) until I get things “just right.”

Spending my first adult chapter as a litigator did nothing to help this tendency. A partner once criticized my (winning) brief because it had inconsistent spacing after periods… Long story short, being an attorney doesn’t do you any favors if you’re trying to kick perfectionist tendencies.

But I also know it’s not sustainable to pour over everything until it’s “perfect.”

And yet… the whole “done is better than perfect” advice has always hit me wrong.

I think it’s because I was trying to apply it across the board.

Either I treated everything in my normal perfectionistic way or I uncomfortably tried to finish everything in the “done is better than perfect” way. And it didn’t feel good to me… so I’d revert to perfectionist tendencies for everything.

BUT this has actually helped me, so I’ll share: some projects are “B Projects,” and some are “A Projects.”

A Projects require excellence, while B projects just need to be called at a certain point.

In my business, this tends to divvy up into:

▻ Anything that’s client-facing (i.e., that interacts with people who’ve invested in my service) is an A Project. I want my course material and my clients’ experiences to be excellent. (That said, I also remind myself and team that no one is living or dying based on our work, so we can all just calm down haha)

▻ Everything else – including internal documents, workflows, social media, blog posts, etc. – is B Project work.

Having that distinction feels like a good fit to me.

If this is interesting to you, start thinking about your job and life projects – what’s the distinction between your A and B projects?

And then use that rough filter to help you approach your work in a more doable way. I suspect it will allow all of us to free up time and energy where we can – and still put out work product we’re proud of.

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