From ordinary to excellent – it doesn’t take much.

I’m a big fan of just getting something done without obsessing over getting it perfect. But I’m also a big fan of striving for excellence wherever possible. Contradictory? Maybe… But what I’ve discovered is it doesn’t take much to just do a little better. So my philosophy is “get it done, then do a little better”.

This week we had new flooring laid in our house. The job involved jackhammering to remove the old tiles, then we had vinyl planks laid in part of the house and carpet in the other part. We were told to remove all our furniture out (obviously), and we also decided to remove anything from the benches and walls because we expected some dust from the jackhammering. I didn’t think it would be necessary to empty the cupboards or anything though.

We left the house for a week to stay out of their way, and I was really looking forward to getting home and seeing the end result. But all we could see when we walked in was a thick layer of dust over everything (including the new floor), and the carpet was covered in billions of loose fibers. Even inside the cupboards everything was covered in thick dust. There was also blood on several walls where one of the workers had obviously cut themselves. The cleanup took dozens of hours just so we could get the place functional, and will continue for weeks as we make our way through the cupboards and their contents.

Once the main cleaning was done the new floors looked great, but any happiness I could have felt about them was washed down the drain with the billionth load of grimy water.

Now my point is, the flooring company we dealt with could have done any of a number of small things to make this a positive experience for us. They could, at the very least, have set our expectations so that we would not be shocked by the mess and we could have prepared better. But they also could have used protective sheeting over the cupboards, cleaned the floors so that their own product looked good, or even offered a cleaning service for an additional cost. It wouldn’t have taken much for us to be rapt with the result, but instead we were hugely disappointed and will certainly not use the same company when it comes to doing the other half of the house!

We also bought a new car this week (it’s been a very expensive week)! We bought the car off the same dealer who sold us a car a couple of years ago. We remembered he was great to deal with, no bullshit, no sneaky sales tactics, and not at all slimy, so we were keen to deal with him again. Between my husband’s initial enquiry a couple of weeks ago, and our visit to the dealership to place the order, the dealer had obviously looked up our previous sale and refreshed his memory on our details, so as we were walking through the car yard and he was assisting some other customers, he acknowledged us both by name. This was such a tiny detail, but he had made the effort and I appreciated his attention to detail and his friendly service. We will definitely continue to deal with that dealership as long as this salesperson works there, because he takes those tiny steps to ensure we have a great experience whenever we deal with him.

It really doesn’t take much to take something from ordinary to excellent. The two examples I’ve given here are both related to customer service, but this applies to anything in your life. What is something you think you could be taken from ordinary to excellent with a tiny adjustment?

Stop overthinking it!

Is there something in your life that you overthink and it holds you back from happiness or success?

I overthink gifts. While I love to give good gifts, I get myself so worked up and anxious over buying gifts that it has become something I dread. I want to make sure the gift is useful, good quality, will be loved by the receiver, doesn’t seem too cheap, etc. But I manage to talk myself out of every gift idea I see, and in the end I’ve run out of time and energy and I end up buying something completely crappy and thoughtless, and being embarrassed to give it!

My friend overthinks her relationships. Hasn’t heard from her new partner in 5 hours? Maybe he’s not really into her… maybe he’s changed his mind… maybe he’s dating other people and keeping his options open… She gets so worried and worked up over what might be going on, and that worry is dragging down whatever possible happiness she could be experiencing in a new relationship.

And don’t even get me started on all the things my husband overthinks!

What is it in your life that you overthink, and how do you tackle it?

Here are 5 ways to stop overthinking:

Be aware of your trouble-areas for overthinking

Becoming aware of the problem is the first step to dealing with it.

Plan for it

For example, I need to brainstorm gift ideas before heading to the shops for inspiration. Wherever possible I need to try and have a specific plan before going to the shops. My friend might plan to not contact her partner until a certain time (say, 6 hours away) unless she hears from him first, and in the meantime, she could focus on some positive, funny, loving things that she might tell him when she does talk to him. This could distract her from thinking of all the negative reasons she hasn’t heard from him yet.

What else could you be doing?

Consciously ask yourself: “If I were to just stop over-thinking this issue, what else could I be doing at the moment?” Rather than spending another four hours wandering the shops, I could be sitting down enjoying a coffee. Rather than stressing about her boyfriend’s lack of contact, my friend could be using the time to do something she enjoys.

Give yourself a time limit.

Allow yourself to think about it for a certain amount of time, and then force yourself to move on to something else. For example, I might only give myself 4 hours total to find a gift. I know as I’m approaching the deadline that I have to just pick something, even if I don’t think it’s 100% perfect. It’s probably still better than the piece of crap I’ll buy after sixteen hours of shopping on an empty stomach.

Consider the future impact.

As much as I want to find the perfect gift, if I’m a little off target and the receiver doesn’t love it, the world is not going to end. If my friend continues to get herself worked up she runs the risk of seeming like a crazy lady to her new boyfriend, and she’s really not that crazy so it would be unfortunate to scare him off unnecessarily!

This is not a comprehensive list of ways to stop overthinking… You see, I spent a long time thinking about this post before I decided to just get it down and move on.

Help me out here… what are some ways YOU stop yourself from overthinking something? Leave me a note in the comments.