The concept of “good enough” is well-known in the business world. The notions of “good enough parents” and “good enough mothers” have become common knowledge in the wider population as well: thick volumes have been written about why striving to be perfect is not worth it, and why it may even be dangerous to approach every role and function in our lives in a perfectionist way.
Expectations particularly tend to multiply as Christmas approaches. We need to finish the year-end rush in a way so that nothing is postponed to January, buy all the presents in a way so that no family member is offended, and in addition to Saint Nicholas Day and Advent, we also need to get through every company Christmas party, including our own, in “flawless” mode. But all is in vain: we cannot buy every present that we picked out (or was ordered from us), and there will definitely be at least one family visit which will have to be reorganised at the last minute.
The key to managing the year-end rush is time: of course, we all feel that we were given too little of it. But time itself is a contradictory factor: sometimes we hurry (and therefore rush) all day, and still cannot get anything done, while other times, after weeks of procrastination, we solve problems in no time, and looking back, we cannot even understand what took so long. The trap of perfection starts with ideas: this worked for others, so I should try it, too; I have to check that as well; and go here; and start this; that looks really good, I should start it, too! Letting our ideas run wild results in putting out fires (something that we already feel we are doing more and more frequently): things break down, stop working, are broken into, cannot be done or pile up.
Many managers believe that they have never had enough time anyway. This feeling seems to increase exponentially around Christmas. So they try to wake up earlier, go to sleep later, not watch TV and read articles with titles like “Eight proven methods that the most successful people apply in order to have time and energy for everything”. Then they realise that the solution is not instantaneous. Sooner or later, they look back and stop, assess the pile of events and tasks behind them and start to analyse them involuntarily. This is what makes us more efficient and drives us forward: when we analyse what we have done so far, then continue doing what is efficient and let go of what is pointless. Which is not easy, since most people tend to cling to their habits. Moreover, some people around us will definitely notice if we ditch an old and familiar habit of ours, and explaining the change also takes time and energy.
While the extent may vary from person to person, everyone can streamline the flood of festive tasks at the end of the year, which is primarily generated by the media anyway. Two courses are enough instead of four, and presents do not necessary have to be expensive or large. We can save both time and energy by thinking about what we can postpone from the tasks that come up in the second half of December until January, when things are still relatively quiet.
Let’s keep this in mind and believe that Christmas is not the season for roles.
We wish a happy Christmas for the Hammel & Hochreiter team!