• Home
  • Blog
  • The two hours which became two days

The two hours which became two days

He looked at me and I could feel the weight of the world on his shoulder: ‘Cyril, don’t. It’s been sitting in my office for two weeks. I know I need to fix it but it’s going to take me two days and I don’t have the time.’

I was working with the Manager of a large manufacturing company and his team. We had just started the Work Smarter: Live Better program, it was the first session of a three-month journey, focusing on decluttering their workspace.

Steve had managed to do a huge purge and prune of his files. But I couldn’t help noticing this curious machine on the floor. When I enquired about it, this is where I got the ‘Cyril, don’t…’.

Bonjour. In this video, I want to share a simple mindset which has helped me to be more productive.

In all the years working with many leaders, I have met quite a few ‘perfectionists. I have come to the conclusion that there is a real fine line between being a perfectionist and being a procrastinator.

By the way I can talk from experience about this because I’m a bit of a perfectionist myself.

A perfectionist will say: “I need to do this but I don’t have enough time to do it well now, so I will do it later.’ Suddenly you have drifted from being a perfectionist to being a procrastinator.

I suggest you change your mindset: don’t think perfection, think by draft.

Rather than saying: ‘I need to find three hours to do this perfectly’ and procrastinating on this task because you don’t have three hours in front of you now or in the next few days. Instead, say to yourself ‘I have half an hour now, so I am going to do a first draft.’

Start straight away and do it. Even if your first draft is poor and far from what you want to do, at least you have got started and have produced something. Then in your next time slot for this task, work on draft 2 and so on until you get to a draft which is good enough for you.

Good enough, not perfect.

You will never be able to do a perfect job. But doing an 80% ok job is often enough. Sometimes even a 50% job is good enough.

When I applied this technique a few years ago, it was a game changer. It helped me in many ways. The best example was when I wrote my book Work Smarter: Live Better. I would have never written a bestseller if I hadn’t had applied this way of thinking. Writing a book is a very daunting task. However, I wrote it draft by draft. I started working on the first draft of the first chapter and little by little had a good first chapter. Then the second one, and so on.

It took me 16 drafts before I was happy with it (I told you I am a little bit of a perfectionist J…). But I would have never written this book if I hadn’t had changed my mindset.

So don’t be a perfectionist. Think by draft and get started.

Coming back to Steve, by 4pm he had done all I wanted him to do regarding decluttering his office. So, I suggested he got started with the machine. He hesitated and did it.

In all fairness it took him two hours. But in two hours it was done. He had procrastinated so much on it that it had become a two-day monster in his head.

Get started. Get some momentum. Do a first draft. It might be all that you need.

This is this week’s Work Smarter: Live Better tip. Have a wonderful day.

A bientôt,

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}