9/10 Ain’t Bad

Everything we do in life can be done well, poorly, superbly or even just mediocrely. But I sense we all have a ‘standard’ to which we do things.

I was in a conversation with a friend this week and she told me her husband is a perfectionist and finds it hard to have tradies do work in their home because he inevitably ends up having to ‘fix’ what they had done. I said ‘ok I’m never doing your retic!’

I am not a perfectionist. With pretty much everything I do I try to do an excellent job, but quickly. I don’t take a smoko when I work. I often grab lunch on the run because I am moving quickly and I usually get home weary. I think my desire for a fast pace in my work is (partially) why I get the odd speeding fine. I move quickly while working and I tend to move fast when I am between jobs too. 8 demerit points tells a tale!

Nine times out of ten I will do a job and get it all right, but there is always the ‘one’, the blocked nozzle I didn’t see because it wasn’t obvious and I didn’t check thoroughly enough, the small leak I didn’t pick up because the water didn’t run long enough for it to show up.

in fact every summer there is one week when I get 4 or 5 calls asking me to come back and fix something I missed. Usually half of these are ‘false alarms’, but I expect them and build them into my planning. I could just go slower… but I don’t do ‘slow’ when it comes to work. I will live with the down sides of being a 90 percenter because it means I get much more done.

Some people want and need a perfectionist and they will pay for someone to take twice the time I will take to do the same job. They don’t miss anything, but inevitably they are more expensive, because they check, double check and then check again. Which would you rather?…

Part of the reason I have never moved into brick-paving is because you need to be a perfectionist to pave. Your ground needs to be perfectly level and while I can get soil level enough for lawn, laying bricks is a level up. Not enough margin for error for me. Last year I produced a photobook with my drone pictures in it, but my 90% tendency meant that a spelling error got through my guard. Annoying…

Some would see it as lazy or shoddy to be happy with 90%, and to be fair 90% is not my goal. I always shoot for getting things perfect, but I know myself well enough to know that I am willing to trade perfection for efficiency.

The same applies to preaching, writing, even doing the dishes or cleaning around the house – although Danelle would probably say I’m a 60 percenter here.

The point is not that its better to be a 90 percenter, 70 percenter or even a 100 percenter. The point is to know yourself, know how you function and then live and work consciously. Today I completed 10 reticulation jobs and was home by 2.00 pm. They were smaller jobs, but I think I got everything right. 90 percent allows for this kind of operation.

I used to spend 3-4 days of time writing sermons when I was younger. I wanted them to be word perfect and anything less was just not good enough. I burned a lot of midnight oil trying to find the perfect story or the perfect way of communicating an idea. Now its 8 hours and if it isn’t finished after 8 hours then I give it one more hour to round it off. Again I live content with 90%, not because I want to give things less than my best, but simply because there is only so many hours in a week.

As you can imagine careers in proof reading, cake decorating and accounting are not going to be my thing. But that’s ok. There are enough perfectionists in the world to fill these roles, but we also need to non-perfectionists to keep things moving. Anyway that’s my take!

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