Embracing M.F.D.s

As a designer works his way towards the completion of a composition, how does he decide when it is done? Is there a point at which his continuing to rework his composition reaches a law of diminishing returns, making it worse? And by agonizing over small improvements in the composition, is he preventing himself from achieving the goal of getting it done?

Tim Herrera explores this dilemma in his Smarter Living column titled “It’s Never Going to Be Perfect, So Just Get It Done.” He suggests a solution for the working and re-working and never quite finishing syndrome. It’s called the M.F.D. (Mostly Fine Decision).

“The M.F.D. is the minimum outcome you’re willing to accept as a consequence of a decision. It’s what you’d be perfectly fine with, rather than the outcome that would be perfect. The root of the M.F.D. lies in the difference between maximizers and satisficers. Maximizers relentlessly research all possible options in a scenario for fear of missing the “best” one, while satisficers make quick decisions based on less research.”

He offers two strategies to combat the never quite finishing syndrome:

1.) Embrace micro-progress: Rather than looking at tasks, projects or decisions as items that must be completed, slice them into the smallest possible units of progress and knock them out one at a time.

2.) Reframe the way you think about the things you have to do. Focus far less on the end result, and far more on the process, which allows you to be aware of the progress you’re making, rather than obsessing over the end result of that progress.

With work piling up and client deadlines bearing down, M.F.D.s may be the designers most important tool.

Taylor Design Blog

By Dan

President / Creative Director