PERFECTIONISM KILLING YOUR PRODUCTIVITY? THESE 3 HABITS WILL HELP YOU MAKE REAL PROGRESS
Our culture is obsessed with perfect. Let’s be honest, every time we turn around it slaps us in the face. It’s either being sold to us, flaunted in our face on social media, or expected of us from our family and friends.
Seriously, think about it. I dare you to open your social media feed and show me anyone who is not trying to portray themselves as the best fucking thing since sliced bread. It’s natural. We all want to be loved, admired, and live fulfilling lives.
Problem is, nothing’s perfect people. Nothing is really even close. That includes anything you do. Holding yourself to a ridiculous standard is dangerous, and scientists believe it can ultimately lead to depression and hyper-anxiety. At the very least, it can be a big barrier to getting your work done.
So stop it. Stop trying to be perfect. You won’t make it. And that is okay. In fact, it’s amazing, because what’s done is way better than perfect. Even if you create the most amazing shit out there, but you obsess about getting that last piece just right, you’ll never get it done. And unfinished is about as far from perfect as it gets. It’s fucking nothing.
A little oversimplified you say? Fair enough. For someone like me that has a serious penchant for perfectionism, this runs deep. You can’t just snap your fingers and BOOM, your perfectionism is gone. In my experience there are a few things that can help cure the problem:
1. Give yourself a defined time frame
Whether you’re a Beatles fan or not, you must admit they made a dent on the universe. John Lennon and Paul McCartney used to limit themselves to one working session (~3 hours), nothing more, to write a song.
Why do you think they set that limit? Because they realized that if they just sat around aimlessly writing and smoking pot, they wouldn’t finish any songs. Instead, they wrote profusely, 409 songs in total.
Adopt this technique. It really works. Whatever it is you’re trying to accomplish, give it a defined completion time.
The Pomodoro Technique is also a great way to manage your time in small chunks. I use this technique regularly, especially when working on long, tedious, and boring tasks.
2. Get the first draft out of the way
News flash: simply starting is half the battle. Have you ever been putting off doing something because you don’t know where to start or you don’t feel ready? Every single person on the planet has felt this way, trust me. But I guarantee the people that are successful and you admire figured this out. Why? Because the people you’ve never heard of never started.
Just start (rule of 2’s blog link here). No one knows what their doing at first. Don’t judge yourself. Just go. If it’s writing, just start typing. Don’t let your fingers stop. Let your stream of consciousness flow onto the page. You can and will edit later. But that’s not the point right now. You need to get something on the page.
Maybe you’re not a writer, but a runner instead. The same concept applies. Put your shoes on and walk out the door. That first step is the hardest part, but once you get going you’ll be glad you did.
3. Think progress, not perfection
Remember the first iPhone? There was a lot it didn’t have. That’s easy to say 10 years later, when the latest iPhone does everything for you short of wiping your ass. Even when it came out, Steve Jobs knew it still needed work.
The first iPhone didn’t even have a copy and paste function. Pretty basic right? You think Steve wasn’t aware of this? You think it didn’t bug him? Of course, it did. He’s known for his acute perfectionism. But I’ll tell you one thing right now, he figured out a way to overcome it. It might have bugged the shit out of him, but you wouldn’t know him from Adam if he didn’t.
The moral of the story people: you have to start somewhere. We are human. Humans aren’t perfect but we can and should still strive to get better and improve. Embrace that. Realize that the thing you are producing or doing right now is not the end all be all. It’s not the best thing ever, but maybe someday it will be, and likely it’s already good enough.