— BY REMON — IN Productivity

Why 80% Quality is Good Enough to Yield 100% of the Results


It was early in my design career, and I had just landed my first big project. I was tasked with redesigning a company’s entire website – a daunting task for a young designer like myself. I poured my heart and soul into the project, spending countless hours tinkering with fonts, colours, and layouts. I was determined to make the website perfect – something that would blow my client away and launch my career to new heights.

But as the weeks wore on, I became increasingly stressed and anxious. My perfectionist mindset had taken over, and I couldn’t stop tweaking and adjusting even the tiniest details. I was spending hours on minor changes that no one would ever notice, neglecting the bigger picture of the website’s overall design and user experience.

As the deadline for the project approached, I realized I needed to catch up. I had spent so much time obsessing over minor details that I had yet to make significant progress on the design. And to make matters worse, my client wasn’t happy with the project’s direction. I had lost sight of what was essential and was paying the price.

As a designer, I used to be a perfectionist. I spent countless hours tweaking and adjusting every little detail of my designs, convinced that only absolute perfection would satisfy my clients and make me successful. But over time, I’ve come to realize that this mindset is not only unrealistic, but it’s also counterproductive. In fact, striving for perfection can often lead to decreased productivity and burnout. That’s why 80% quality is good enough to yield 100% of the results as a designer.

The Dangers of Striving for Perfection

Now, don’t get me wrong – there’s nothing wrong with striving for excellence in your work. But when that desire for perfection becomes all-consuming, it can have negative consequences. For one thing, striving for perfection can lead to decreased productivity. If you’re spending all your time tweaking minor details, you need to pay attention to the bigger picture of the project. You’re also wasting time that could be spent on more critical aspects of the design, such as user research, prototyping, and testing. In addition, if you’re constantly chasing an unattainable goal, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment and frustration.

Let’s drop the pretence and get real here. What the f*** is value, anyway? It’s not about striving for perfection but delivering solutions that solve real problems. As designers, our ultimate goal should be to create a meaningful impact, which doesn’t necessarily require us to be flawless. Embrace your imperfections, own them, and channel that authenticity into your work. Clients and users connect with real people, not airbrushed illusions of perfection.

Pareto principle 80/20

The Pareto principle, named after the Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, states that 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. In other words, 80% of the value of your design comes from 20% of the elements you create.

The 80-20 rule is a Pareto principle that states 80% of all outcomes are derived from 20% of causes
Side tip: It's about finding a balance between excellence and efficiency. By adopting this mindset, you can avoid unnecessary perfectionism, unleash your creativity, and have more time to tackle other projects or explore new ideas.

How to Embrace 80% Quality as a Designer

Okay, enough with the theory. Let’s dive into some practical tips:

  1. Prioritize the most essential design elements: The 80/20 rule can help identify the most critical design elements. Focus on those elements first, and don’t worry too much about the minor details.
  2. Set realistic deadlines: Don’t give yourself an impossible deadline that requires you to work around the clock to achieve perfection. Instead, set a reasonable deadline that allows you to focus on the most critical aspects of the design and still have time for rest and relaxation.
  3. Get feedback early and often: One way to ensure that you’re on the right track with your design is to get feedback from your client or colleagues early and often. This will help you focus on the correct design elements and avoid wasting time on minor details that no one will notice.
  4. Focus on the user experience: Ultimately, the success of a design project depends on how well it meets the user’s needs. Keep the user experience front and center in your mind, and avoid getting bogged down in minor details that don’t contribute to the design’s overall effectiveness.

Remember, being a designer is about much more than producing pixel-perfect visuals. It’s about understanding the bigger picture and delivering value to clients and users. By embracing the 80% quality mindset, you can free yourself from the shackles of perfectionism and focus on what truly matters—solving problems, exceeding expectations, and making a lasting impact.

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Hi! I'm Remon Leijtens

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