Friday, August 26, 2011

Confessions of a (Recovering) Perfectionist

You may have noticed that I’ve been trailing behind my timeline on my Master Plan projects.  (Ok, maybe you haven't.  But I have!)  I had a little revelation this week.  Let me share something about myself to explain...

My mom often marvels at how she was able to tell the personalities of my brothers and me from a very young age.  My indicator?  I used to be very upset any time I would color outside of the lines of a coloring book.  Being a perfectionist has always been in my blood!

This attention to detail and desire to have everything 100% correct often serves me well.  Things I produce are accurate and comprehensive.  I work in finance, so this is a good trait to have in my industry.

However, perfectionism can also get in the way.  Do things need to be 100% correct 100% of the time?  No.  Is that even possible?  Probably not, unless you don’t have much to do, but in this era, we have so much coming at us all the time that your plate is likely overflowing.  At some point, you have to decide when something is “good enough.”

I was always a good student, and I went to a good college studying a challenging degree.  Naturally, I wanted to continue making the good grades I always had, but my workload was too heavy for me to do every assignment perfectly.  I credit my undergraduate major for really teaching me the concept of “good enough.”  I had to figure out what was worth spending more time on, and what assignments would be ok with less attention.  By learning what was "good enough," I was able to graduate with honors while also being able to participate and hold leadership positions in other activities.

I went on to a one-year graduate program after college, and thanks to the “good enough” mentality I had built up with my undergrad degree, I was able to get through my program doing less work than some of my classmates.  (My extra time went to good use job-hunting.)

How does this apply to my organizing projects?

I realized this week that I’m trying to get them 100% perfect before saying that they are done.  I’ll never get them all done at this rate!  I also know that even if I think it’s 100% done at first, chances are that I’ll have to change something later, anyway.  If I can only get something 80% done, I can pick up the other 20% later on, and I may have thought of a better way to do it in the meantime.

Long story short: It’s time to re-apply the “good enough” rule.  My kitchen has been mostly done for a few weeks now, but I haven’t posted anything because I’ve been trying to tie down the loose ends.  Really, I should accept the progress and move on to the next thing!

So, my promise to you is that by the end of this weekend, I will have a post up on my kitchen project, and I will have made a start on my next project.  I give you the right to come after me if you don’t see that post by Sunday night!

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