Yesterday I faced a mountain of laundry that threatened to topple over if I so much as breathed on it. My kitchen counters were cluttered, there were dust bunnies everywhere, and I needed to work on some writing projects. I was completely overwhelmed!
Yes, I’ve led conferences before that taught women how to take control of their calendars and to-do lists. But for some reason, what I have taught has not worked for me in a long time. I’ve become discouraged because there is so much work for me to do, but I haven’t been able to figure out how to do it all.
As I was struggling through the things I needed to get done yesterday, it hit me that maybe the reason I can’t get things done when I want to get them done is that I am trapped by perfection. Even though I know I’m not perfect, I still want things done perfectly. For example, I know the bathtubs and showers in my house really need cleaning. However, I know that I can’t get them perfectly clean. There are spots that just won’t come off. So, because I know that they won’t be perfectly clean, I put off cleaning them.
It’s crazy, I know! But I’m caught in the trap of perfection, and it paralyzes me from doing what needs to be done. This also spills over into my writing. I’ll put off writing something because I feel I’m unqualified to write about a certain topic or I’m afraid I’ll say the wrong thing.
So, what do you do if you’re trapped by perfection? Well, sometimes you have just got to let some things go. Tell yourself that your best is enough. One of my favorite quotes is from Marla Cilley The Fly Lady. She says, “Housework done incorrectly will still bless your family.” I try to remember that when perfection seizes me and threatens to keep me from being productive.
The hardest part is getting up and doing what needs to be done. Sometimes I give myself 15-30 minutes to work on a particular task or set of tasks. It is amazing how much can be accomplished in such a short time. Usually I’m so inspired by what I have done, that I continue to work longer. Now, if I could just manage to do that everyday!
So, what about you? How do you motivate yourself to do what needs to be done whether it’s at home or work? Do you struggle with perfection, too?