I never knew I was a perfectionist until I started this blog, and it has turned into a big problem. Every day I look at the pile of unpublished drafts on this blog, and I feel overwhelmed and horrible. I can easily write a 2k+ words article in one sitting, but getting that draft to look pretty has become too taxing for my brain. (If I am being honest, I don't know if I will even publish this rambling.) How do you put something out in the world when your brain keeps telling you that it's not good enough?
With this post I am attempting to reboot my brain and maybe (if I post this), I can urge you to push through whatever it is that you are procrastinating on? Maybe.
Breathe and Reboot
It has been a very hard two years for all of us. I feel like I have been stuck in my room in various emotional and mental states, doing nothing. Working from home gave me so many opportunities to work on myself and finish my projects. But even with all the free time in the world, some days it was hard to even get out of my bed. So let's start by being kind to ourselves and give us the benefit of the doubt that what we did before this was the best we could do.
Yes, some people around us accomplished more and you feel like everyone has better luck than you. Maybe that's even true but guess what? this is the only life we got. Even if it's not as ideal as you wish it could be. This is the only hand we gotta play and the only way to win this game of life is by accepting that we don't have good cards and doing something about it. You won't change anything if you accept your loss even before the game starts.
We all have the same 24 hours but we are all on different timelines, mental and physical states. We don't have a time-turner like Hermione in Prisoner of Azkaban.
Whatever happened, happened.
Maybe we didn't do things to the best of our abilities, maybe we DID do everything our brain allowed us to do at the time. So, you did your best even if your best was to survive another day.
Yes, things could have been better but it's never too late. We can set the restart button whenever, wherever and however many times we want. It's our lives after all. So starting now, if you can, press the restart on your life. If that doesn't start your system, do a long press and reboot your life instead.
Recognise the problem
"I need to work on it more."
"No one will read it anyway, why bother?"
"I need more time to work on it."
"It's 12.08, I will start at 12.30."
"I HAVE to work on this other thing right now!"
"In the mood to read this book."
"I will do it this weekend."
"I am a perfectionist."
If you see yourself here, then there is a problem that needs to be fixed. Perfection more often than not leads you to become a procrastinator, and somewhere along the way perfection and procrastination will become one and the same thing. You either find yourself spending a lot of time on a simple task, or you just stop working on the smallest task because you are frustrated and anxious.
10 Reasons Why Perfectionism Is Harmful
- Perfectionsim affects how you think, behave and feel.
- Perfectionism is destroying your productivity.
- It is a mask we wear for your fears.
- Perfection is nothing but Procrastination.
- It is keeping you from doing something you want to do.
- You either spend hours working on something or you give up on your task easily.
- You become chronic procrastinator.
- It makes you frustrated, anxious, depressed and angry.
- 9/10 times, you are trying to please someone else and not yourself.
- If you keep waiting for something to be perfect, you will never be able to share it with people who you could help with your work - even if it is not perfect!
How to overcome perfection (and all the lies we tell ourselves to feel better)
Don't get me wrong, wanting to get things done in a certain way is okay. Having certain standards set for yourself is alright too. But when you reach a point when you stop creating and doing the work because of those (unreachable) standards that's when it becomes harmful. Recognise the problem and make a very conscious decision to work on yourself. Here are a few things you can try.
THE ONLY THING THAT IS PERFECT IS IMPERFECTION
Everything is flawed, nothing is perfect. How do you realise if something is perfect anyways? There is no set formula for perfect. What is perfect for me can very well be flawed for someone else. If you keep thinking that your work is not good enough you will miss your deadlines, people will stop trusting you, you will get frustrated and not finish. Worst of all, someone less capable than you is going to get ahead of you because they took action while you were waiting for perfection.
Finish it even if it is flawed. Even though it is not up to your standards, do it anyways. It is never going to be perfect and that's okay.
STRIVE FOR PROGRESS, NOT PERFECTION
When we start with a black and white thinking that it needs to be perfect or nothing - we set ourselves up for failures. We will either keep working on that good enough even when we reach good, or we will get frustrated and stop working on it. Sometimes the difference between that good and good enough is the rest of your life. Anything is better than nothing at all.
DONE IS BETTER THAN PERFECT
What is done is better than perfect? Let me explain - actually, no - I will let my life coach Mr Kim Namjoon explain this to you:
My favourite quote these days is, done is better than perfect. I think it means that doing something is better than trying just to be perfect. That’s how I see it. I liked it. ‘Done is better than perfect.’ Nothing is really ever perfect. So these days, I’ve taken that quote to heart. I think too much.
Kim Namjoon (BTS, Bring the Soul)
These days I have been trying to condition myself to embody the done is better than perfect mindset. Whenever my brain tells me, "let's stop now and finish this another time or another week." I tell myself to power through and finish the work even if it is messy, at least it will give me a place to start and ideas to work on. Getting things done is always better than perfect.
Here is a little to-do list for you to try
❏ Make a list of all the lies you tell yourself and do a self-assessment.
❏ Every morning make a to-do list and figure out just 3 tasks you have to accomplish. Only focus on those 3 tasks.
❏ Give yourself little breaks, so you don't get overwhelmed and anxious.
❏ Find a progress partner. Tell them that your intention and ask them to keep you in check.
❏ Write down the realistic statements on cue cards and carry them with you.
❏ Motivational wallpapers are helpful. Try them.
❏ Listen to something motivational every morning - a podcast, a video or an audiobook.
❏ Make yourself a cup of coffee, start your get-shit-done playlist, and finish your tasks.
If you reached the end, thank you for reading. I know it is a mess! But at least it is something. Don't you think? Please give me and yourself a little cheer in the comments. If I can post this mess, you can do it too. :)