Dead Voles has nice post on the Infinity Standard.
1.) In the work of doing good, effort causes good. 2.) All possible good should be done, and 3.) all foregone effort is foregone good. 4.) In principle, there is no condition one can be in where slightly more effort is not possible. 5.) With infinite effort, infinite good can be done. 6.) Therefore, infinity is the standard. Anything short is deplorable dereliction.Reading this sparked the post below on the need for a personal mission statement. My current academic unit has recently been remade by upper-level administrators. What this means in practice is that everything needs to be redone now. The absence of very basic things, like faculty governance, promotion and tenure documents, student degree-checks, and even computer support for faculty, are all starting to become acute. Every one of these gaps is a crisis that needs immediate attention. Part of restructuring of my unit entailed streamlining, so we are now an eighth the size we used to be. This means that all the details of running an academic program have to be recreated by a very, very small group of faculty. We are busy reinventing many wheels.
The infinity standard resonates for me right now. Like the vast majority of academics, we care about our teaching and our students and our research. They are important to us beyond simply being our jobs. This creates many problems, but right now it means that everyone sincerely wants to fix everything and they want to fix it now. It will in fact be good to fix these things, and there is nothing on our to do list that can't be accomplished by just a little extra effort. The problem is that our to do list is so long and we are so few that all those extra efforts add up to more than can possibly be done this year. Trying to prioritize and resist some things in favor of others can feel like, and be perceived as, a dereliction of duty.