Anyone who produces something, including myself, experiences the conflict between the quality and the quantity of work. Should I produce more work (quantity) or better (quality) work? Whether it be writing a new blog post, sending another email, reading more books, another sales call or meeting more people.
If one focuses on the quality of work alone, they risk not producing enough, taking too long, or procrastinating. On the other hand, if one focuses on quantity alone they may risk producing low quality of work.
Hence, the question becomes – how do you maximize the benefits of both the quality and the quantity of work?
A Case for Quality of Work
In my experience you should focus on the quantity of work and the quality will take care of itself. Furthermore, instead of thinking about quality and quantity as two things that can’t be done together, we need to view quantity as a way to get to quality. Perhaps, it is best captured by the old saying “practice (quantity) makes perfect (quality)”
Here are some examples to demonstrate my perspective:
- if you’re a writer, increase your quantity of writing. Once mastered, begin to sharpen your skills to improve the quality.
- If you’re a cold caller or a salesperson, increase the quantity of phone calls. But, with each phone call get better at delivering your pitch or better resonating with your prospects.
- If you are an entrepreneur, focus on quantity of problems or products that you launch. But, with each launch learn from your market feedback so you can make your next launch or product idea more successful.
I have experienced the above examples myself as someone who likes to produce work. Additionally, here are four more reasons why I think the work on quantity over quality pays off.
Eliminate Procrastination by focusing on quantity of work
If you finish things last-minute, you know the power of deadlines to eliminate procrastination. Thus, if we focus on quality (without a deadline), we invite procrastination. Instead, focus on quantity of work with reasonable deadlines so that you can produce more work.
Maximize learning by focusing on quantity of work
When you produce less, you learn less. The fewer lines you write, phone calls you make, the pictures you take, the people you meet – the fewer experiences you will have to learn from. Thus, by focusing on quantity of work you maximize your learning – which then fuels better quality of work.
Focusing on quantity reduces work anxiety
Ansel Adams, often said “the perfect is the enemy of the good”, his point being that if he waited for everything in the scene to be exactly right (scene, lighting, location, etc.) he would never take a photograph. He would needlessly worry and get anxious over getting everything right.
Instead, he focused on producing work – the of photographs. Afterwards, with the quantity of photographs he improved the chances of creating good quality photographs.
Focusing on quantity creates good habits
By focusing on quantity of work, you develop habits of doing the work and discipline. These habits alone are valuable skills to help you succeed. Overtime, your craft and work gets better and these habits take you forward.
Going forward, I hope to focus more on the quantity of work and the achieve quality through the process of constantly creating. Have you ever experienced the dilemma between quality and quantity? If so, please share your experience.