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The Barrier of Perfection

Several clients have told me, “I’d like to see your house. I’ll bet it’s perfect.”  My home is not perfect and for one very good reason.  I don’t strive for perfect.  I don’t believe good organizing is about being perfect.perfect-boxes

Voltaire is credited with saying “The perfect is the enemy of the good.” Another version I have heard is “Perfect is the enemy of done.”

“Perfection” sounds like a final destination.  Organization is not a destination. Organization is a vehicle that will take you where you need to go, no matter how often that changes.  Good organization doesn’t sit still.  It needs to MOVE.  It needs to move, FLUIDLY.  Circulation prevents accumulation.

By circulation, I mean things need to move reliably from one stage to the next.  For this to happen, one must accept that stages cannot always be completed perfectly.  In fact, the more perfection you seek, the less progress you are likely to find.  Just as every environment needs to have limited blocks of space, every schedule needs to have limited blocks of time.

The goal of an organized home or office should be to assign dedicated zones with dedicated functions and to keep those functions moving.  If too much is neatly hidden away in PERFECT furniture and containers, the functionality is compromised and accumulation inevitably follows.

Similarly, managing time is really about managing priorities and you need to block out a limited amount of time for each priority.  If you take unlimited time trying to do one thing PERFECTLY, it will inevitably compromise your other priorities.

So don’t equate organization with perfection.   The reality is, perfection may be your biggest barrier to organization.

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