Advertising
Advertising

What Can Software Developers Teach us About Crushing the ‘Perfection Bug’?

What Can Software Developers Teach us About Crushing the ‘Perfection Bug’?

    Imagine this: Your desk is full of paper and it’s all related to unfinished work. Also, your task list never seems to shrink – instead, it’s growing bigger and bigger.

    Even if you work hard on your tasks, you have this nagging feeling of incompletion in your head. You also feel that it is impossible to meet your inner critic; you are never satisfied to your results.

    You are frustrated and burnt out. And even if that’s not enough, you start to procrastinate on your tasks.

    You only wish that you could leave the office at 5PM and spend time with your family. And then you look at the piles of paper on your desk.

    It is going to be yet another night spent working.

    There is no finish line in sight

    Unfortunately, this image is way too common in offices around the world. Most people are overwhelmed by the amount of unfinished work they have.

    There are really four reasons why this is happening:

    Advertising

    First, it’s because the amount of distractions. They don’t have a chance to work in a focused manner and their work performance slows down.

    Secondly, it is because working on too many things (tasks, projects, etc.) at once. When they work like this, they are unable to get anything properly completed.

    Third, they don’t have an organized way of handling the workload; they have issues with prioritization and they don’t know what tasks to focus on next. This in turn may be caused by a non-existent day planning.

    Now, even if those three previous conditions are met, there is still one thing that causes people to procrastinate and be overwhelmed: It’s the unfinished work and the fact that they are never 100% percent satisfied to the quality of their work.

    When they are unsatisfied to their work quality, they keep tweaking and tweaking the results but they are unable to finish anything. This is a sure way to overwhelm their selves and generate unnecessary stress.

    It is also a sure way to make other people angry – especially if their performance is dependent on the person who is never capable of finishing his/her part of the task/project.

    If it’s not perfect, it is not ready!

    Inability to let go of tasks and never finishing them are symptoms of perfectionism.

    The fact is that you are never going to satisfy your inner critic because you think that there is yet another tweak that you have to do until you can let go of the task.

    Advertising

    What is causing all this?

    It’s the underlying fear that is holding you in its arms; the fear that others label you as a failure if you release something imperfect. The fear that you are letting yourself down (and not meeting your standards) if everything is not 100% perfect.

    Well, I have some news for you — perfection doesn’t exist!

    I admit that in certain circumstances (for e.g. professions) you always have to be striving for perfection, for example when you are an airline pilot or a surgeon.

    But in 90% of other cases perfection is not serving you. Instead, it is slowing you down, making you procrastinate and increasing your stress levels.

    Let’s talk Scrum

    If perfection is slowing you down, help can be found from a surprising source; from the world of agile software development and Scrum.

    “Hmm… Scrum? What is Scrum?” you are asking.

    Scrum is a software methodology that software developers use and one of its components is “Definition of Done” (DoD). It describes what a development team has to have ready by the end of the development iteration (also known as sprint).

    Advertising

    When the team declares something as done, it means that the new functionality is fully tested, documented and could be even put to production.

    Even if the DoD is used in context of software development, it can be easily applied to individual productivity needs as well.

    Definition of Done describes clearly and explicitly what needs to be achieved until a task can be declared as done. And when you define your “done”, you can get rid of your perfection bug.

    What is your definition of done?

    Let’s take the concept DoD, simplify it a bit and put it into the context of personal productivity. To create your definition of done, follow these steps:

    1. Define a task you want to accomplish
    2. Explicitly describe (in written form) what requirements have to be met before it can be called ready
    3. Mark a task as checked when it’s ready
    4. When all the rows are checked, that particular task is done

    Let’s say that you are blogger, you want to define your “done” regarding a new blog post. In that case part of your DoD could look like this:

    Writing a blog post:

    • Outline a post [checked]
    • Write a post [checked]
    • Proofread the post [ ]
    • Create a compelling headline [ ]
    • Find a accompanying picture [ ]
    • Schedule the post in WordPress [ ]
    • Write an email message to your autoresponder [ ]
    • [ ]

    The previous DoD is clearly explaining what has been achieved so far and what still needs to be done.

    To make your DoD even more effective, share this with an accountability partner if you have one. This way you can make continuous checks on how you are progressing with your work and if the individual tasks have been accomplished or not.

    Advertising

    If you still try to strive for 100% perfection, your partner can remind you of the agreement that you have created (your DoD). This way you are not endlessly wasting your time by making irrelevant tweaks to your tasks.

    Conclusion

    I have been guilty of striving for perfection and this bad habit has slowed me down on my projects.

    However, once I started defining my “done” (in a written form), I was able to see clearly which parts of the project were finished and which still required my attention.

    Once the item on the list is checked, it’s done and I can move to the next task or project.

    How do you handle perfection?

    (Photo credit: Program code on a monitor via Shutterstock)

    More by this author

    Timo Kiander

    Productivity Author and Founder of Productive Superdad

    What Is FOMO (And How to Get Over It) How to Create a To-Do List that Super Boosts Your Productivity Do You Do This Common Mistake When You Start Working on Your Tasks? 9 Valuable Lessons Learned After Writing My First Book Agreeing on Deadlines With Yourself Just Doesn’t Work: Here’s What Does

    Trending in Technology

    1 18 Best Time Management Apps and Tools (2020 Updated) 2 10 Best Task List Apps to Boost Productivity in 2020 3 25 Essential Windows Keyboard Shortcuts You Need to Know Now 4 7 Clever Goal Tracker Apps to Keep You on Track in 2020 5 10 Tools to Start an Online Business without Breaking the Bank

    Read Next

    Advertising
    Advertising
    Advertising

    Last Updated on May 28, 2020

    18 Best Time Management Apps and Tools (2020 Updated)

    18 Best Time Management Apps and Tools (2020 Updated)

    No one can dispute the countless benefits technology has brought us. Undoubtedly, it has allowed us to connect, perform, improve, and leverage our resources beyond what was once imaginable.

    If you’re not taking advantage of some of the hundreds of time management apps and tools out there, you’re definitely missing a trick.

    But with so many apps to choose from, how do you know which ones to use?

    Well, this will depend on your needs. That’s why we’ve put together a list of 18 of the best time management apps that can help you with the most common challenges of managing time.

    Let’s dive straight into the list.

    1. Rescue Time – Use Your Time Wisely

      If you have doubts if you are using your time sensibly, this app will send you weekly reports to indicate what things are stealing your time. Aside from its automatic time-tracking feature, this app also has distraction blocking and efficient report tools.

      RescueTime helps you avoid being overwhelmed by too many tasks. This app also has a team software that’s dedicated to time management among team members. With this app, you may be shocked to discover how much time you’re actually wasting.

      Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

      2. Remember The Milk – Keep on Top of All Your Tasks

        If you’re struggling to manage everything you have to do, and you work with many different devices, then this is the app for you. It’s a great free tool that is compatible with your mobile, computer, Gmail, Outlook, etc., and it allows you to sync all your devices for easier time management.

        This app will help you to manage your tasks easily and reminds you of them – wherever you are. You can share tasks and lists with others, making it a great tool for teams as well.

        Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

        3. Focus Keeper – Boost Motivation to Complete Tasks

        Advertising

          This app is based on the principles of the Pomodoro Technique, and it is aimed at individuals who procrastinate and feel overwhelmed by tasks. It has a simple, efficient user interface that is easily customizable based on your needs.

          Focus Keeper is designed to enhance your focus and remove any anxiety you might have with time pressures. This is a great app to use if you want to prevent yourself and your team from being burned out.

          Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

          4. Toggl – Keep Track of Time Spent on Projects and Tasks

            Effective time management starts with being clear on exactly how much time you actually spend on your projects and tasks and through analysis – working out how you can manage them more effectively. Toggl allows you to do all this even with its simple design.

            Toggl includes great time-saving features integrated with its intuitive interface. This is a great alternative to time-sheets if you need to track how much time you spend on different projects.

            Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

            5. Dropbox – Store and Send Large Files Easily

              There are many apps that allow you to transfer content from your computer to other devices, but Dropbox is free and it is easier to use than the others. With the Dropbox app, you can even access and share important files on the go. It is an easy way to share your files and documents with others for improved productivity.

              Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

              6. Evernote – Keep All Your Notes in One Place

                Evernote is a free productivity tool that allows you to capture all your ideas, thoughts, and images in many different ways (e.g., with voice, notes, or images). You can even record your meetings, interviews, speeches, and ideas, create lists, add voice or text attachments, and share your files with friends. You can also sync Remember The Milk with Evernote to better optimize your time.

                Available iOS, Android, and Desktop

                7. MindNode — Focus on Tasks at Hand With Mind Mapping

                Advertising

                  Mind mapping is a great productivity technique, and Mindnode is one of the best free mind mapping apps available. It helps you to become more organized by focusing your thoughts – thereby gaining clarity on what needs to be done.

                  This app allows you to customize various visual tags and templates to suit your needs. You can also easily share your documents with others.

                  Available on iOS and Desktop

                  8. GoodSync – Back Up and Sync Your Files Effortlessly

                    This software allows you to back up, restore, and synchronize your files easily. It supports folders from a variety of locations, and it has filtering options that let you exclude subfolders from synchronizing.

                    This app also allows you to sync files to and from your phone. If you have never backed up your files before, you should definitely take a look at this tool.

                    Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

                    9. MyLifeOrganized (MLO) – Manage Your To-Do Lists Effectively

                      Check this out if you find it difficult to manage all your tasks, work with your to-do lists, and organize your goals. This task management software helps you target what you should be focusing on to reach your objectives.

                      MyLifeOrganized is one of the best task management apps for focused work. It automatically generates to-do lists with priority actions for your immediate attention so that you can track your progress methodically.

                      Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

                      10. 1Password – Have All Your Passwords Remembered

                        1Password allows you to keep all your passwords in one encrypted database – protected by one password. This saves you time when you forget your passwords and need to retrieve them. This also allows you to use various passwords for different accounts so you don’t compromise on security.

                        Available iOS, Android, and Desktop

                        Advertising

                        11. Pocket – Keep Your Eye on the Ball

                          When you’re surfing the web, it’s easy to get distracted by enticing and fascinating websites. That’s why you need effective time management apps like Pocket. You can use this tool to save your ‘finds’ to access and read later on at a convenient time. This prevents you from getting distracted and negatively impacting your immediate work.

                          Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

                          12. Focus@Will – Boost Your Attention Span

                            This amazing app combines neuroscience and music to boost your productivity. According to the developers, it’s possible to increase your attention span by up to 400% using Focus@Will, making this one of the best time management apps available.

                            Focus@will is ideal for those who find it difficult to focus while studying, working, or reading. It also helps you control your ADD.

                            Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

                            13. Alfred – Interact With Your Computer in a Smart Way

                              This small and simple tool allows you to launch your documents, project files, folders, and bookmarks with just a few keystrokes. This makes life so much easier as you don’t need to go through the start menu to access what you want. The only downside is that it’s only available for macOS.

                              Available on desktop (macOS)

                              14. Forest – Boost Your Focus by Growing a Forest

                                Forest is a unique reinvention of time management apps. This unique and fun app helps you stay focused and on-track by making you focus on another thing.

                                The concept is simple: whenever you want to focus, plant a virtual tree. If you stay focused, the tree will grow. If you lose focus, the tree will die. As the app’s name implies, you can grow multiple trees to create a virtual forest!

                                Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop (Firefox Add-on)

                                15. Trello – Track Your projects in a highly visual way

                                Advertising

                                  Trello is a hugely popular app that you may already be familiar with. It works by allowing you to create cards for tasks that you need to complete. Each card moves across the Trello board, which is typically broken into columns such as To Do, In Progress, and Completed. This serves as your cue to start working on and completing the associated tasks.

                                  Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

                                  16. Quire – Unfold Your Ideas

                                    Quire is an innovative time management app that helps boost your team’s productivity. The strength of this app lies in its features for collaboration and ease of sharing. You can streamline and adjust your workflow based on your team’s needs and preferences.

                                    Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

                                    17. TimeTree – Have a Shared Calendar With Your Family

                                      This TimeTree app allows families or teams to share multiple calendars and appointments with each other. So, whether you’re planning a party or running a local sports team, Time Tree can keep everyone up-to-date with all current and upcoming activities and events.

                                      Available on iOS and Android

                                      18. Todoist – Capture and Order All Your Tasks and Activities Easily

                                        Todoist is close to being the ultimate digital to-do list and one of the best time management apps out there. It’s available via browser and app, and it lets you schedule all your tasks and activities. Each item can be flagged for priority as well as a given due date. There is also a neat option to add notes to any of your tasks.

                                        Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

                                        Final Thoughts

                                        The above list covers what we consider to be the very best time management apps and tools available. And the good news is that many of them are completely free of charge!

                                        So, what are you waiting for? Select the ones that will be the most valuable to you, and begin boosting your productivity now!

                                        More Productivity and Time Management Apps

                                        Featured photo credit: freestocks via unsplash.com

                                        Read Next