When should you do a half-assed job? It’s an important question. I fully support doing high-quality work when such effort is truly required, but not every task requires high-quality work.
For your freelance writing you need to a really good job. Your paying clients expect it, and you must expect it of yourself when you’re creating your own information products.
But there are times when a half-assed effort is not only good enough, but what you should do…
Why You Should Do a Half-Assed Job
Simple — do a half-assed job when it’s all that’s required to get the result you need.
Here’s how it helps you: You save time and energy for more important activities that can increase your income or boost your health or happiness.
My Half-Ass Job Examples
That Lower Division Speech Class My Senior Year at UC Davis…
The group communication class I took at Shasta Community College? My counselor there (a former P.E. teacher) said it would transfer to the University of California system. It didn’t.
So I found myself having to take Speech as a senior, a senior biochem major very busy trying to get A’s and do quality research in Professor Marilynn Etzler’s lab. I was not happy.
So what did I do? First, I took the class pass/no pass to minimize pressure and the threat to my GPA. Second, I did zero work outside of class. I made up my speeches in my head as I road my bike to school (did I mention it was an 8 a.m. class?) and just winged ’em. Didn’t study for the tests at all. Wound up with a C+. Pass!
Learning German While Hitchhiking Through Europe…
I spent two years living in Europe: 9 months doing biochemistry research at the University of Lund in Sweden, and 15 months traveling in Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East.
Mostly I traveled by thumb, and a lot of that travel was in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. So I taught myself German using a book and the generous help of the many folks who picked me up.
My German didn’t need to be perfect. I just needed enough to get by, especially to ask for directions and help, and deal with food, lodging (often under a bridge or in a park), and the like. I was fine making grammar mistakes, as long as I was understood.
And German helped me in many situations in many other countries as well, situations where the only language I had in common with someone was German.
My philosophy: spend 30 minutes getting the house 95% clean is a lot better than spending three hours to get it 99.5% clean. Quick dust, sweep, vacuum and you’re good to go. Who could possibly argue with that?
In Summary, It’s OK to Do Some Things Half-Assed
It’s often far better than doing nothing at all.
And Now Your Take…
Do you agree? In what circumstances do you do a half-assed job? Leave a comment below…