A li’l story about my old mate, Perfectionism.

The picture of this graceful swan has nothing to do with productivity but I used it regardless.
The picture of this graceful swan has nothing to do with productivity but I used it regardless.

Perfectionism is an insidious little bastard, isn’t it? It’s pestered me my entire life, and I’ve let it. The resultant picture is one of shameful non-productivity & opportunities squandered.

As an adult, and for as long as I can remember, I’ve always had a To Do list the length of an A4-size piece of paper. The only variable throughout that time has been the items on the to do lists at the various stages of my life.

Actually, now that I think about it, do tax has always been a constant bullet-point. Why on earth does one require motivation to carry out a task that will more than likely result in money being returned to their bank account? How absurd.

A few months ago, I decided to tackle this perfectionism character head on. Looked it right in the eye and asked what its deal was. Due to its non-human existence, it did not answer me back. But regardless, I made a pact with myself to be conscious of when its presence was near and that when it was, to immediately reframe in my mind that getting the task done 50% imperfectly was 100% better than not attempting the task at all.

I know not from where the concept arrived in my mind, but I concluded that doing the task at least 50% perfectly was an acceptable benchmark. In the logical compartment of my brain, I judged that percentage to be more than reasonable.

Over the past few months, I’ve put this 50% perfection concept to work, with  tangible results as a consequence. However, today as I wrote my current To Do list, I took a closer look to examine why I felt such a burdensome load on my shoulders. And what I discovered, lurking right back there in the shadows of the very last row, was my familiar foe, Perfectionism.

I did a hasty swivel on my chair and planted my bum on the floor. I began meditating in my usual way, but then I took a left-hand turn and started visualising all the items on my To Do list being executed with at least 50% perfection. A sense of relief immediately washed over me, as I’d given myself permission – again – to be imperfect.

I’ve previously enjoyed moments of feeling oh so virtuous at having brought this concept (that a great number of achieving people never need even consciously consider) into my life. But today, I’m humbled by this timely reminder that when it comes to an archenemy made of sneaky & surreptitious traits, it’s imperative I stay vigilant to its lurking presence drifting never too far away.

Really need to get that tax done.


DISCLAIMER: This blog post is brought to you today by my employment of the above concept. You’re welcome.

3 thoughts on “A li’l story about my old mate, Perfectionism.

  1. Love your blog about perfectionism. While it’s a little daunting at times, it does keep us on our toes, although most often unnecessarily. I have to-do lists too, but I only jot down 50% of what needs doing or buying, leaving the other 50% up to memory. Of course that often fails, but I’m left with a comforting amount of just-a-humanism.
    And by the way, your picture of the Swan is pure perfection.

  2. Ah, see, you have a percentage thing worked out too, but yours is for your To Do lists. 50/50 seems to be the equation that makes the grade. :) I need to embrace the just-a-humanism concept a bit more fully than I already do. Thanks for commenting, Robyn. :)

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