Getting to “Good ENOUGH”
Wednesday, September 24, 2014 24 Comments
Discovering YOUR Perfect Balance
©Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
From the Activation Series
Lowering your standards
“Don’t think of ‘good enough’ as settling for something inferior or imperfect, think of it as striking a perfect balance.” ~ Dylan Reeve
In the previous article, The Virtues of Lowering your Standards, I refuted the idea that any “job worth doing” was worth doing WELL.
As I said, “It’s always seemed to me that if the job’s worth doing at all, any forward progress is good forward progress.
I also made the point that any shade of completion beats chronic indecision and “procrastination” – hands down!
While both of the above are certainly true, I also wanted to encourage you to embrace good enough for the tactical advantages that a more BALANCED approach to life offers – along with positive results for your struggles with activation.
In an interview from the blog good experience, the author of “The Paradox of Choice” insists that only on rare occasions is it worth struggling to find the best — that it makes life simpler if you settle with good enough.
“You don’t have to make an exhaustive search – just until you find something that meets your standards, which could be high.
But the only way to find the absolute best is to look at
ALL the possibilities.
And in that case you’ll either give up, or if you choose one, you’ll be nagged by the possibility that you may have found something better.” ~ author Barry Schwartz – Paradox of Choice
Be sure to check out the sidebar for how links work on this site, they’re subtle ==>
Most of my clients have discovered that a great many of the items that have been getting sporadic A+ energy do just fine without that A+ level of attention – better, actually.
They notice that more consistent C- energy actually gets the job done “better” across the board — faster, with fewer struggles “making” themselves attend to things, with far less “efforting” in general and a life of ongoing accomplishment that is balanced. (Wow. Kinda’ gives “just try harder” a black eye, doesn’t it?)
In the previous article, I explained why “shooting for a good C-” is a great idea for those of us who have a ton of undone to-dos on our lists.
Once you get used to the idea, I believe that you will find that aspiring to a “C-” job for a great many of the items on your to-do list greatly reduces rumination, performance pressure, and task anxiety.
- It also makes it MUCH LESS likely that you’ll get stuck in dreaded hyperfocus, blowing the remainder of your to-do list out the window.
- Many of you will notice that you spend less time hyperfocusing on your favorite avoidance activities too.
- Spending less time handling most of your list leaves more time to do a GREAT job where it matters — to YOU.
So NOW all that’s left is figuring out which of the items on your to-do list those items might be . . . gulp.
Most of us have been swept along by shoulds for so long, we’re not really sure anymore WHAT really matters to us and what we’re doing for some other person who matters to us. (NOT the same thing, by the way – check out Priorities-101 for more about that)
Easier said than done?
Let’s play a Game
Here’s one to help you get to good enough with a clearer understanding of YOUR priorities: play Least and Quickest with every single thing you do for one entire week. Keep notes so you can review your Aha!s.
For every single part of each task, ask yourself the following two questions:
“What’s the least I can do to get this done?”
“What’s the quickest way I can get it off my plate?”
It works best if you enroll a partner to help you sift through your discoveries at the end of the week. A comprehensively trained brain-based ADD Coach is ideal, but a peer coach or a non-judgmental friend works too.
IMPORTANT: Pick a positive-minded partner who has nothing to gain – or lose – by what you discover. You both may believe you will be able to remain unbiased, but in 25 years I’ve never seen it happen.
NOT IMPORTANT: It’s not necessary for your partner to be willing to play too to be able to partner YOU — as long as they take the exercise seriously and are able to remain positive toward you and your efforts.
It’s not only more fun if you are both playing the game, most of my clients and students have remarked that “paired exercises” add depth and velocity to almost any process.
Plus, when another plays the game with you, you’ll both garner insights you are likely to miss if only one of you is playing.
You will, most likely, both be eager to “debrief” before the end of the week, too – maybe even daily. Not only are you more likely to continue to play the game at all if you know you will be talking about it more frequently, you will probably find your enthusiasm for the process increases as you move through the week.
VERY IMPORTANT: Encouraging folk only! You’re better off working without a partner than asking someone you already know has a tendency to dismiss the efforts of others or to talk about them in a disparaging manner – even if you believe that they have always been positive about you. You won’t play full-out, and you’ll be reluctant to be forthcoming and perfectly honest.
Least and Quickest Week
Rules of the Road Redux —
- Every single waking hour of every single day for a solid week, ask yourself both Least and Quickest questions about every single thing you do — from the mundane to the sublime — unimportant and urgent alike.
- Note your reactions and what happens throughout the week.
If you are like most of my clients, you’ll not only get more done, you’ll begin to get clear on where you choose to focus your A+ energy and what needs to be dropped forevermore.
If you take the game seriously and ask yourself the question before ALL of the things you do during this week (well, most anyway – okay, more often than you think you will), your gut will balk when you hit one of those places where you simply cannot MAKE yourself make friends with doing something in a half-hearted manner (even for one measly week).
That’s a clue that you have discovered one of YOUR priorities.
- Moms (and a few Dads) have tended to balk on doing less than their best on many of the activities that will impact their children’s education, for example, even obliquely. All parents balk on issues that impact the health of their offspring (but seldom on issues that impact their OWN health. Hmmmmmm)
- Men frequently balk when it comes to making love to their partners and almost always balk on doing anything but their best in meetings with their bosses. (Chores? Not so much!)
Pay close attention to that feeling of “No way, Jose!”
As long as you are relatively sure you are not being black and white about entire categories, honor your instincts — and write down the task on your A+ list.
If you want to get the most value out of the week, make sure you take the time to write down every single thing that falls in this category.
Make sure you aren’t mistaking a “should” for something you legitimately CHOOSE to do very well, however.
- Every time you inkle that you might be should-ing on yourself, write it on a shoulds list instead (or do both).
- Put a question mark after it if you’re not sure.
Pay attention to those areas that are especially easy to sluff or shirk – or no-brainers to remove from your list altogether for Least and Quickest week.
Write them down as candidates for removal forever, even if you’re practically positive your loved ones or your boss (or your clients!) would have a fit about it.
This is your list and YOUR feelings – for right now, don’t consider ANY obstacles.
You’ll probably discover that many of the things you need to do really AREN’T worth scrambling to do well. Write down which items in your life fall into the “not worth much time and effort” category as you come to them.
It’s different for each of us but, for example:
- Are you planning to eat off those floors?
How clean do they really need to be?
- Offering your lawn as the neighborhood putting green, perhaps?
Unless you are, dialing back a bit on scrupulous lawn care might not be the worst thing you ever did.
You may ALSO discover that some things may not be worth doing at all.
- You might find, for example, that you actually prefer a more relaxed look to those wonderfully cool summer linens, and easily decide that you will never iron them crisply again
- You might find that YOU have never been the one who cares about the freshly-pressed look. Shove that chore right off your plate entirely and onto the plate of the person you’ve been trying to please. (see Priorities-101 if you’d like some help with that)
- Some of my clients learned that the person they thought they were pleasing couldn’t care less whether or not they did a particular task. It turned out that they were much happier having more “quality time” with a less harried Beloved.
Shoulds can be Sneaky
In debriefing Least and Quickest Week with me – in the early years of my coaching career – one of my clients told me that she was thinking about paring down the ironing. She couldn’t believe how much time she gained in a single week by skipping this relatively unimportant task.
For one entire week, she didn’t allow herself to iron anything that didn’t absolutely NEED ironing. Before the week was up, according to what she had written down, she wasn’t even feeling those twinges of guilt she felt the first few times. In fact, she felt almost giddy with relief.
She discovered that most of the wrinkles she had been carefully pressing away smoothed out all by themselves, as long as she got the clothes out of the dryer and onto hangers quickly.
Her husband didn’t notice the difference. Since he’d always sent his work shirts to the cleaners, he had no idea that she HAD been ironing everything else, nor was he aware that she had stopped.
She surprised herself when she observed that she didn’t mind starting the day with a few wrinkles in her casual clothing either. After all, she mused aloud, they don’t look any worse than they do after an hour’s wear anyway – and nobody else will ever know any different.
Voila! A savings of over an hour a week was returned to her time-bank.
But wait – there’s MORE
Since her husband didn’t even notice the wrinkles in his boxers during the week she played the game, she told me, she was wondering how it would be to stop ironing ALL of the underwear — forever. Her things didn’t look as pretty in her dresser drawers, of course, but they looked exactly the same once she got them on. What did I think?
My reaction? “You are the only person I know who ever ironed ANY of the underwear!”
Bigtime News to Her! She thought everybody did.
Since her newlywed days, she figured that “doing the ironing” meant ironing ALL of clothes but socks and the bulkiest winter sweaters — one of those black and white assumptions common here in Alphabet City that are amusing in retrospect.
(I still occasionally discover another one of mine — and I’ll bet you have yours, too).
Not only did her black and white assumption lead to a time-consuming misunderstanding, it was a HUGE toleration that had been eating away at her resolve for years.
Her reaction? We had been working together long enough for her to trust that I wasn’t judging her behavior – I’d shared an “oddity” or two of my own with her. After a second or two in shocked silence, she howled in delight.
To the best of my knowledge, she seldom ironed at all after that session!
In case you’re wondering, unless I need to press seams during the rare times I sew anymore (which I finally learned is essential for clothing even though it’s optional for other projects), I haven’t ironed ANYTHING for about twenty years now.
My wonderful friend Janine gifted me with an industrial grade steamer like they use in many dress shops. But I only drag it out when something I dearly love can’t be worn unless I do. I don’t BUY things that are likely to wrinkle too badly to be worn as is, and I toss those that do unless I positively ADORE them.
How about you?
Do you still iron? What other tasks that many consider important have you taken off your personal to-do list forever? Anything you do ONLY when you can’t find any way around it? What about something you have been persuaded to downgrade or dump after reading this article or the one before it?
Leave it in the comments section below. Let’s pool our ideas.
IN ANY CASE – PLAY THE GAME THIS WEEK – and come back to share how it went and what you learned about yourself.
WHO KNOWS what you will discover!
(nothing, of course, unless you play along)
Keep reading to keep learning
and keep coming back – there’s more to come
© 2014, all rights reserved
Check bottom of Home/New to find out the “sharing rules”
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You might also be interested in some of the following articles
available right now – on this site and elsewhere.
For links in context: run your cursor over the article above and the dark grey links will turn dark red;
(subtle, so they don’t pull focus while you read, but you can find them to click when you’re ready for them)
— and check out the links to other Related Content in each of the articles themselves —
Related articles right here on ADDandSoMuchMore.com
(in case you missed the links above or below)
- ABOUT Executive Functioning
- The Virtues of Lowering your Standards
- Top Ten Reasons to Reframe Procrastination
- Task Anxiety Awareness
- ABOUT Alphabet Disorders & Alphabet City
- Shame on Shoulds
- Moving from Black or White to GREY
- AHAs! and DUHs! — HUH?
- Repair Deficit
Articles in the ACTIVATION and Black & White Thinking Series
Linklists: Easy for me to keep updated for access from ALL related articles
– easy for YOU to jump to the article you want –
(hover before clicking on any link to see more)
Related Articles ’round the ‘net
- I Am Tom Nardone, and I Can Make Your Dreams Come True!!!
(always a hoot – never “appropriate”)
- Lowering your WRITING Standards when you’re stuck
- Writers: Lower your Standards; Do More Writing
- Lowering the Bar vs. Settling: Getting Rid of your Superficial Standards for Love
- Parenting Tip: Lower Your Standards – FABULOUS blogger
- Drinking to Lower Standards?
LinkLists of other supports for this article – on ADDandSoMuchMore.com
- Individual Challenges Inventory™ Series article-links by category
- LinkList: TransitionTamer™ Series
- LinkList: TaskMaster™ Series
- LinkList: Time & Time Management Series
- When you are NEW to ADD (or this blog/Attentional Struggles/ADD Coaching)
- Variations on ADD-ADHD (Are YOU included in this subset?)
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