One thing that can truly stop you from doing anything is perfectionism. As a recovering perfectionist, I would like to help you avoid this horrible thing. It will lead you nowhere, you will never get your work done and you will hate everything you make, that is the way of a perfectionist.
As each Saturday I’m glad to help you with 5 simple tips to stop being a perfectionist.
Learn the principle of Wabi-Sabi
The principle of Wabi-Sabi is the bane of a perfectionist, it’s one of those simple ideas that can truly set you free. In simple terms the idea is to accept the true fact that everything is imperfect and that is what makes things truly beautiful and perfect. Sounds a bit weird? Not at all, take for example any object or painting that you love, look truly closely and you will see little imperfections that truly create beauty.
This applies to your own work. My own weird way to write is part of what makes my own style. It’s far from perfect, but it’s readable and you can enjoy it. So let yourself go and accept the simple fact that the most imperfect things are truly beautiful.
Plan less, act more
Taking action is one of the best ways to keep your inner perfectionist at bay. If you have a simple planning session and then you take action as soon as you can, then you will truly rob yourself of the opportunity to take the perfectionist role.
Taking action allow you to break the endless cycle of planning. Planning is good, but only to a certain extent, you need to stay flexible and be able to change things around when you are working. The more flexible, the less planning, find your balance between both and don’t forget, to take action as soon as you can.
Be willing to commit mistakes
The perfectionist is truly afraid of making mistakes, that’s why he tries to get a flawless victory each time. I’m guilty of this one each and every time. As a web designer, this one afflicted me for a long long time. But just imagine the amount of second guessing in my whole creative project until I was certain of what I was doing. the sad truth is, it’s just a false sense of certainty.
You never feel truly certain of what you are doing. Committing mistakes is normal, and it’s part of the learning process. Otherwise you will never try new things or grow as a person. Accept the idea that you can make mistakes and that being a perfectionist is the best way to never being an expert at anything.
Add a deadline
Being on a deadline, and committing yourself to keep it, is one of the best ways to avoid the perfectionist inside you. When I feel the perfectionist in me trying to creep out, I try to establish a deadline and adding some accountability to it. The time constraint and a friend or family member who knows about it will keep you working instead of looking at the details that nobody would notice.
This one works well if you can’t move the deadline, otherwise you will just add more time to it and never get anything done. One simple way to add deadlines is to use a deadline for the session. Let’s say that you need to get some work done, set a timer for 30 minutes and don’t stop until the time is up, then stop whatever you are doing. This is a great way to stop being caught in the details. It’s truly helping me to write in a more focused way.
Work in iterations
This one may not work for everyone, but you can try to add some kind of iterations to your process. That way if your inner perfectionist is still screaming to get some details done, you can get them done after you finish certain parts of your project. It’s like having the change to make version 1.1 after you finish.
Think of it as having chances to review your work and get things done in a simpler more straightforward way. In my case, I try to get the most important features of my current projects and later on add the details and all the bells and whistles. Of course this works with coding stuff, you need to think outside of the box to find a better way to apply iterations to your own process.
Bonus tip: Ask someone if they notice
If you are still stressing out just because your inner perfectionist is telling you about any minor details. Just go and ask a friend about it. Don’t say what they are looking for, just ask them if they notice anything funny. If they point out the detail, you have all the right to fix it, otherwise just let it go until later on.
This is a good way to find out if you are just driving you crazy with details or if you truly need to solve that tiny detail. The eyes of someone who has not been working on the project are clean and will let you know if there is a problem with it.
Now since the weekend is still going, just relax and forget about being a perfectionist, it’s pointless anyway.
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