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do what works, because done is better than perfect

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I’m a firm believer that you need to do what works for you. Ignore ideology and what ’should be’ the right answer - you don’t need to do what’s best, just what works and is good enough.


The other day I was talking about the food that I eat. I really don’t enjoy cooking unless it’s for other people, and I live alone. This is a fairly recent thing for me, so to start with, even though I couldn’t be bothered to cook I would buy sensible, ‘make from scratch’ food - like fresh vegetables, minced meat, chicken breasts etc. Good idea, right?

Wrong. I basically wasted all that money, because I couldn’t be bothered to cook the food and had to threw it out. Instead, I’ve moved towards putting more emphasis on preparation time when choosing food. I’m doing what works for me, even if it isn’t ideologically the best thing.

cash and cards

For a long time my spending money has been placed into a separate account and then I’ve been spending it on a card, and rarely used cash. That worked for a long time, but I started to get slack and then the card rules changed, which meant that it was too difficult to track.

Although received wisdom says that you spend more money when it’s on a card, I used to live primarily on cash, and I’ve long known that it burns a hole in my pocket and slips through my fingers. Cards are normally a better solution for me, but I need to know how much money is left to fritter in the month, without having to look it up somewhere.

I decided to take the plunge and experiment with cash only. I started a couple of months ago, and it’s going fairly well. The way that I’ve made it work is to take out all the money I’ve allowed myself for the whole month (so that I don’t need to track withdrawals), and then ration it carefully at home. I basically limit the amount of money that I have on me to the minimum possible. I’m rubbish at delayed gratification, so I avoid daily challenges on the issue by removing temptation as much as possible.

what does it all mean?

For me, doing what works means being honest about my own limitations. It means accepting that I have both strengths and weaknesses, and doing what is needed to ensure that I don’t sabotage myself and my plans. It means being auto-magical because I’m lazy, and writing everything down because I’m forgetful.

One of my favourite quotes/cliches is that ‘done is better than perfect’. Life is more pass-fail than about scoring the highest grade for the neatest work. It’s about what you learn, playing to your strengths. I try as much as I can to drop pre-conceived ideas about what ’someone like me’ should be doing with their time and money, and try to do what I think will make me happy, and/or what will mean that I’m least likely to screw it all up.

What non-perfect tactics do you employ that work for you?

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2 comments for “do what works, because done is better than perfect”

  1. There’s another fitting quote/cliche: “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.” Good for you for tweaking and trying things to find out what works best for you. That’s what really matters. Each of is unique, thus the conventional wisdom usually applies to us when we are being perfectly “conventional.” Which, hopefully, isn’t all that often.

    Found your site for the first time today and I’m enjoying perusing your archives!

    Casual Kitchen

    Posted by Daniel | September 27, 2009, 12:04 am

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