If It Is Worth Doing, It Is Worth Doing Right

If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over
— John Wooden

I was 19 years old and working my first summer on the maintenance team at a camp. I did a lot of things I had never done that summer. I power washed boats, painted tennis courts, fixed water heaters and so much more. One particular project that stood out for me. I was tasked to help add backing to a set of bleachers.

Now I know that this was not glorious work but I was learning a lot and having fun with my fellow workers while doing it. As we built it, the lead builder wanted us to put in three sets of screws in one spot and three sets in another. Me being the master craftsman I was (insert laugh from everyone who knows me), I suggested we only put in two, and that it would decrease our time on the job. The lead worker looked at me and smiled. In a kind voice he said “Luke, if it is worth doing, it is worth doing right”. I felt embarrassed. Of course I knew that, but somewhere along the way I got tired and wanted to cut corners. We finished that project and I vowed to do things right and not cut corners again.

Doing things well takes time. In our fast paced, fast food and fast action culture, taking the time to do things right can feel like wasted time. John Wooden’s quote rings true, “If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over”. If we don’t do it right the first time, we end up wasting more time doing it again later.

This rings true in a building project just as much as professional projects. What happens if you don’t have all of the key players on board? The project will stall as they get up to speed. What happens if you rush to respond to an email to get it off your plate? You make mistakes grammatically and possibly say something you did not intent to say. Taking the time to do things right is a mindset. One that, if adopted, can keep you from spending more time doing it over later.

Here are some questions to find out if you are doing things right the first time:

  • Will this last for the future?

  • Do I have the time, energy and tools to complete this the right way?

  • Are the right people informed about this?

  • If my supervisor walked in right now, what would they say?

  • What do I need to go back to and do it right?


Sometimes we are too close to the problem or project to see that we are doing it right. We get so busy playing defense we forget about offense. In these cases a professional coach is a great tool for outside perspective and insight. Reach out to us to take an assessment to see if a professional coach is right for you.