If you’re one of the
five regular readers of my blog, you’ll notice that I’ve been posting more after my “one month” break. One post every weekday. My intention is to keep this pace for a year, because I want to train myself to work ahead and write with more brevity. I’m trying to kill off that procrastinating perfectionist part of me, so I can become better at finishing.
I want us to be a generation of finishers. I want us to be a generation of people who follow through and sew the last stitch or give the final keynote or write the last chapter.
And in order to get there, we have to murder perfectionism. I was going to write, “put perfectionism to bed,” but that sounded too tender for this particular monster. Murder feels right.
How do we do that? There are a number of ways. Books like Getting Things Done by David Allen are great at helping you get organized and in motion. Men’s magazines offer monthly tips on productivity with the least effort expended. But I tend to think that the simpler I keep my tools, the more likely I am to actually use them. And there is one idea that changed the way I looked at perfectionism. Bumping into this truth radically rewired my ability to finish. Here’s what I learned: 90 percent perfect and shared with the world always changes more lives than 100 percent perfect and stuck in your head.
That’s it. I admit it’s simple. But it’s also true.
The things you create and share will always out-perform the things that stay stuck in your head or your desk or your laptop. You might love the ideas you have inside you. You might be more proud of them than any other project you’ve ever put together. But if you don’t follow through with them, they won’t do much good.
Jon Acuff, Quitter
When I write, I can spend hours as I cross every “I” and dot every “T” that I see. Tens of thousands of keystrokes (many of them ‘backspace’) can go into each post as I try to explicitly clarify every point and counter every argument that crosses my overactive imagination. That’s too much effort for the quality of work I’m producing, and I’m putting an end to it.
I’m letting myself off the hook, and posting the 90%. I’m giving myself the margin to share more, and more frequently. I’m ignoring the perfectionist. So, here I am writing this a week and a half before I’m planning on posting it, and once I’m done with the next four sentences, I’m not going to touch it again. Hope you enjoy it.
What kinds of things have you kept stuck in your head, because they aren’t “perfect” yet? What good things is your perfectionism keeping from the world? Time to get out the long knives and put it down.
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