The Danger of Quality Work—And How to Avoid it

You want to produce quality work, I’m sure. I mean if you’re going to put your “name” on a “product,” that “product” better be good. Your commitment to producing quality work is, for the most part, an asset. Your organization and your customers deserve your best work.

A commitment to excellence is a hallmark of people who produce great work. However, there’s a danger that waits for anyone who pushes it too far, and that danger is to get stuck in what I call the perfection loop.

The perfection loop is when, wanting to make your work “perfect,” you never finish it. That is, wanting your “product” to be perfect, you fail to ship it. You indefinitely delay the moment when you put the final dot on the project because the “perfect state” you’re aspiring to reach eludes you.

This constitutes a real danger, and sometimes, it affects people insidiously. They stubbornly continue to work on something they should have shipped days, weeks, months, and even years ago. And all the extra time they invest only produces marginal improvements to their work. They could have used that extra time to create more great work, but instead, they’ve used it in trying to attain the “unattainable” and reach the “unreachable.”

This can be particularly challenging for a “perfectionist.” “Perfectionism” is often rooted in insecurity and fear. For example, the perfectionist may fear to see their work criticized because it has “imperfections.” Thus, they get stuck in the perfection loop, seeking to bring their work to such a “level of perfection” that no one can criticize it.

Of course, they never found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow; even the best “products” get criticized. People will have their opinions no matter how “perfect” the work is.

To produce great work, you must learn the discipline of “shipping” your work. An excellent way to do that is to give yourself a deadline and to stick by it. You produce your best work within the allotted time and, when the deadline arrives, you ship the goods. Until you reach your deadline, you are free to iterate as many times as you wish. But once you reach your deadline, you must ship. This will ensure you don’t get stuck in the perfection loop.

Maintain your commitment to producing quality work, but don’t let yourself be sucked into the perfection loop.

About The Author

Vladimir Elie

I help people learn and apply success principles and strategies so that they can get the results they want in life.