What to do when perfectionism becomes a hindrance

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This is only the second week of my weekly motivational posts for you guys, and I’m already struggling to come up with something good. Yikes. The problem is that I’m trying to come up with something that isn’t just “good.” I want something INSANELY motivational. I want you guys to feel like you can — and should — take on the world after reading my posts. I want to spur you into actions that will improve your life. I want to write something that should end up on one of those posters we’ve all seen where the words overlay some picture of a raindrop falling into a pond or puddle or whatever, creating ripples and all that. So. Deep.

There was probably a whole team of people putting that together, and they had longer than a week to do it, so I’ve decided to not be so hard on myself. The drive for perfection has been gumming up the whole process. I need to get over myself and just get the task done using the 90% rule. There are some variations on that rule, namely the exact percentage, but the gist is the same. Don’t shoot for perfection: shoot for something more like 90% perfect. That’s something more attainable, and as silly as it sounds, lowering the bar can be quite motivating.

You’re more likely to start something you think you can finish, and shrinking a task down into something more palatable may be the thing you need to get you started. In our world of “shoot for the moon because even if you miss, you’ll land amongst the stars,” it can seem counter-intuitive or defeatist to say, “well, no. Maybe don’t shoot for the moon. How about the launchpad? Yeah. Shoot for the launchpad.” It’s not defeatist. It’s smart goal-setting and can help you both start and finish a task.

We often get in our own way of being productive, and not because we’re lazy, but because we’re trying a little too hard. We don’t want to put out shoddy work, and I’m not recommending that. I’m recommending lowering the bar a little bit so you’re motivated to start that work. You can always come back and polish the rough spots out. In my case, I finally started writing this post because I decided that having something on (digital) paper was better than the result of my desire for the perfect post, which was a blank screen. I had wanted perfection, and instead I was doing nothing. Once I lifted the requirement of perfection, I wrote with reckless abandon. If I do say so myself, I don’t think it’s going too terribly, either.

So there you have it folks, my Monday Motivation is to lower the barrier of perfection and just get started. Once the ball is rolling, you may surprise yourself at how close to perfection you end up. And who knows, maybe “lower your expectations” will end up on a motivational poster someday. 😉

Rub some acetone on it and call me RIGHT NOW! Don’t put it off until tomorrow.

Side note/legal jargon: Everything on this blog is based strictly on my own personal, private views and is completely independent from my current employer unless otherwise explicitly stated. In no way, shape, or form is my current employer responsible for any written content on this blog, though I may borrow the occasional picture with appropriate permissions and credits.

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