I have just read 2 blogs about perfectionism and finished a creative project, here are my thoughts!
Jeff Szymanksi on the Harvard Business Review website differentiates between healthy and unhealthy perfectionism. Healthy perfectionism is positive. We should focus on achievable standards, which match our time/energy and interests of that moment. Furthermore we should prioritise to make sure that we are focussing our perfectionism on the right targets. The payoffs of our perfectionism, ie the end results, should be higher than the costs of that effort!
Peter Bregman, also on the HBR website, has the following ideas to help perfectionists create limits for their perfectionist drive.
*Just start, get going, do it good enough and often and you will reach the standards you desire
*Do what feels right to you and not others - don’t need to follow all the info out there, trust you self and your instincts. (This is hard for me, being a "live in my head/Think too much kind of perfectionist!)
*Choose your support /Feedback wisely - feedback is good, but only if it comes from someone in the right spirit.
And my triumph over perfectionism? This week I finally collated, created, uploaded and ordered this book - it is a compilation of translations, blog entries and photos about the barge my parents live on. The project has been "pending" and taking up space in my head and guilt in my heart for at least 3 years. When my parents bought the barge, the previous owners gave them a long document (in dutch) about the boat. The document was a transcript of a fairly rambling, but fascinating conversation between the son of the original barge owner and his nephew about the barge. I got it translated into english and then decided to make a book out of it for my Dad.
I finally decided to finish it, come whatever, for this Christmas. I had been putting it off because I wanted it to be perfect. I got photos from lots of people who had been on the barge. I collated all the emails my Mum and Dad had sent about the barge. I felt intimidated - by the new software, by my expecations, by the creative effort needed. I thought it would take me many days of work.
As it turns out, I put the book together in about 10-15 hours on Tuesday evening and all day yesterday / yesterday evening. Yes, at times the text formatting was fiddly. Yes, photos were not matched exactly with the most perfect text. But as I was working i kept thinking - I want this done for this Christmas, which means I need to send it this week. And this quote was always at the back of my mind - DON'T LET THE PERFECT BE THE ENEMY OF THE GOOD!
And then late last night the book was finished, uploaded and sent, and it is due to arrive December 14th, plenty of time for Christmas! Today I feel as though a mental weight has been lifted from my shoulders and I feel able to get other tasks done now.
Take a sneak peek if you are curious!