Perhaps the report doesn’t need those few extra pages, or the annual checkup can wait a few more months, or you’re sure the car can go a few thousand more miles before its oil change, or the complicated home project is almost good enough, or… or… or.
It’s not unusual to become tired in what can be a difficult economy or with the kaleidoscopic range of daily obligations, to feel that just making it through the most urgent priorities is enough, to leave uncompromising thoroughness for another, more doable day.
And yet there are always consequences.
To cut corners is to make it through the day but not the month. Anything unfinished, or completed in a substandard way, will inevitably cause far more problems down the line than embracing the moment with determination and discipline—and yes, discomfort and difficulty. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, for one, refuses to compromise the Fed’s independence and will not allow it to become politicized, regardless of the pushback. Special interests, despite their mode of transport, have learned that they have no choice but to take a back seat to the overall good.
Take extra time if necessary and spend those extra calories, but make sure that all the windows—in your work, your life, your home, your relationships—are sealed. Avoid the kind of cracks that will invariably come back to cause drafts, in fact gusts, that erode and corrode. Let “It’s good enough” remain a phrase for the lazy. Accept “It’ll do for now” only on the eighth day of the week.
A mindset. A way of life. Call it what you will, but true conscientiousness allows no compromise and cannot be broken; warm rewards await.