3 Times Not Stressing Over the Details Will Make You Better at Your Job

You’ve probably heard the productivity adage that “done is better than perfect,” which certainly sounds more appealing than “the devil is in the details.” However, as an editor, it’s my job to check (and double check) the work that comes across my desk. Moreover, almost every job description I’ve ever seen asks for people who are detail-oriented; not “sometimes detail-oriented and sometimes slightly less so for the sake of efficiency.”

So, at first glance, the idea of just plowing through work and ignoring the finer points feels impossible. In fact, just the thought of it used to make me uncomfortable. I love details, fully polished finished products, and giving off the impression that I’m someone who puts a lot of effort into my work.

However, after realizing my obsession with details was holding me up time and time again, I decided there are situations in which you have to let it go. Because, as I’ve learned through my experiences, allowing yourself to get things done without pausing to think (and overthink) as you go will help you work smarter. Read on for three times when you can let the specifics slide—and still be seen as someone who cares about your work.

1. When You’re Brainstorming

I love words, but nothing interrupts a train of thought like an internal spelling bee. When creativity is called for, give yourself permission to think without critique. 

If you want to take something in a new direction or if you’re trying to come up with different ideas or creative wording, jot your ideas down. If autocorrect or a squiggly red line is going to tempt you to waste brainpower proofreading, get old school and grab a pen and paper. 

Trying to find the best way to respond to a challenging email or one that calls for fresh and inspired ideas? Take the pressure off by deleting the address in the “to” field so that you know you can’t accidentally send it before you’re ready. Spend all of your energy and time brainstorming. Think now, edit later.

Learn the other two times by reading the rest of the article on The Muse.