Done Is Better Than Perfect

Learn how chasing perfection stopped me from posting a video for years, before I decided things needed to change

Tell me if this sounds familiar? The project is close to being finished, it’s been difficult with lots of hurdles to overcome.

You’ve had to learn lots and there have been lots of new processes learnt, you’ve pushed yourself further than ever before. But there’s something in the way, a road block.

It’s preventing you from moving forward or completing the project. All your momentum has vanished and now you’re just stuck.

Instead of working, you’re just going over the same thing. There’s no forward movement. There’s no end in sight.

This is what happens when you chase perfection. It’s crippling for a project.

To be clear it wasn’t a fear of YouTube, but something just as crippling.

In this article I’ll show you how you can overcome it, and while I will be focusing on YouTube, but this can be applied to all forms of art.

What Does Done Is Better Than Perfect Mean?

There’s a great phrase in art which sums up this article to a tee, which is:

“A work of art is never finished, merely abandoned”

If you were working on a video, but every step of the way required learning something new. Looking it up on google, implementing what you learnt, maybe going back because of a roadblock.

Each small step is two steps learning to solve a new issue. You’re learning, but the progress is slow.

Now imagine instead of finding solutions to the next problem, you just move on, complete the video, and defer the problem for the next video.

You do that over and over again, and each video builds on the next. Each new video you come armed with new knowledge learnt from solving past problems.

Which is the better choice?

Arguably, say you did finally finish the first video route, it should be far superior to the second route video.

But I would argue that when following the second route, by the time the video using the first route is done, the second route will have published several more videos, with the latest video far superior to route one’s first.

Why You Shouldn’t Chase Perfection

Route one kills progress. You sacrifice having any momentum or the snowball effect on your work drive that comes with consistently publishing.

I know this because I’ve seen it happen to me. I chose route one and I watched as other new YouTubers followed route two, and just kept posting and posting.

Years ago I started a video, I was using lots of VFX with Adobe After Effects.

Because I was new to After Effects everything was a steep learning curve. One scene meant I had to consult three different twenty minute YouTube videos.

It was a hard slog, and meant the video took weeks to make.

Meanwhile as I was editing away, there were YouTubers who, granted weren’t using any After Effects, were posting video after video.

Each video showed progression, with better video editing quality and more on camera confidence. 

And there I was, it had been weeks since I recall being in front of the camera, and I was still editing. It was beginning to drag.

Life got in the way and I never finished the video.

Meanwhile today, those YouTubers have carried on going from strength to strength. They’ve built their businesses and grown their audiences.

When Is the Work Done?

The difficult question is when to stop. When to say enough is enough, and it’s time to press publish.

Unfortunately there’s no one answer for everyone. You’ll just know. If it’s taking over a week to film and edit a YouTube video, it’s very likely you’ll have reached your point.

The key is when you get to multiple hurdles in a project, think about whether it’s important to the video. Tackle one you must have in the video and defer the others for another project.

The way you should feel when you’ve finished a video is that ‘I’m happy with what I have produced here, but there are things I would like to have done in this video that I didn’t get around to’.

And you can tackle that thing you wanted to include straight away, but in the next video.

Just Keep Publishing/Producing Content

There are a number of things happening when you follow this strategy, some of which you will be unaware of.

The first is you’re building a mentality of consistently creating new content. The benefits of consistent publishing is building an audience. And the audience will be noticing the progress you make video after video.

Another is you’re improving multiple facets of your work and business. With each new video, you’re building more adsense income or the journey to monetization.

Then there are unrelated facets of your business, like your confidence in front of the camera improving, learning more about peripheral tools, like audio, lighting etc. 

Consistency and repetition will improve your skills by a factor far higher than taking weeks to do one video, if you ever even finish.

Finally

You’ve just got to press record. And then, you just have to press publish. It sounds easier said than done, but it is.

You have to learn when to let a project go, so that you can be released to start the next project.

Even with the videos that feel less than perfect, I felt great getting them out there into the world and starting the next one.

I don’t mind seeing the mistakes I made. In my first video I looked jittery and some VFX looked unfinished.

The second video still had no color grading.

The third video was missing a few design cues I’ve wanted to include from the start.

But it doesn’t matter, the next video will have corrected all those issues and then go on to make new mistakes to be corrected in the next videos.

It’s progress. Keep moving forward or you’ll stay still as your peers continue on.

Links

I hope this article gives you an insight into my past and helps you avoid a huge mistake that took me years to rectify.

If you’re just starting your YouTube journey check out this article here. And as you grow your business bookmark my article: ‘How to Start a Creative Business‘ for help with every step of the way to make sure your business grows successfully and fast.

Also check out my YouTube channel too.

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