When you set out to make change, or to embark on a bold new venture, there will always be resistance. One common area of resistance is perfectionism and overthinking.
“Perfectionists spend too much time on little difference as the margins at the expense of the important things.” says Ray Dalio.
With a perfectionist mindset, you place too much emphasis on things that don’t matter as much. You focus on reaching an ideal state that is unrealistic at your current state. This can apply to projects and tasks as well as to relationships, experiences, and other areas of responsibility in your life.
A few ways to overcome perfectionism include:
- Limit the scope of how much time you are willing to spend on something, and then ship what you have within your timeline.
- Give yourself a deadline for when you will decide on something, and then make the best choice you can with the information you have.
- Start with your first bad idea or crappy first draft. Use this to create movement and get started, knowing that action and experience will bring more clarity.
At home, on a lazy Saturday morning, I have two favorite mugs. One is my 10-oz Lino Coffee Mug. And the other is my double-walled Monty cup from Fellow.
This is a question Sarah Peck brought up yesterday during a workshop she hosted.
There are a plethora of things which we could do and unending demands on our time and attention. It takes design and focus to only do the things that matter most. Sometimes it can be nice to have a list of the things you don’t do and don’t bother with in order to create the space for the important stuff.
Personally, I’m still firmly in camp Things. (But I do still peek over the fence at Todoist from time to time … shared tasks would be nice. But I use Notion for that with my team.)
If you’ve been on my FAB list for business owners, then this is exactly what’s I’ve been doing.
(See also: this fantastic HBR article on the value of Operational Transparency.)
Another book recommendation for you…
If you liked Profit First, this is another must read from Mike Michalowicz. It acts as like the “hub” so to speak of all his other books. Helping you know what to focus on right now for your business (instead of getting distracted and pulled in a million different directions).
When you make something that matters, it will be polarizing. There will be some people who don’t like it. But there will be others who love it. It’s not easy to make something and put it out there. But when you do, look around: are there people you find awesome, and are they happy to be around your work …. then you are on the right track. You’re serving the right people doing something worthwhile.
Some fun ideas from Gretchen Rubin to make space, have fun, and look around.
What happens when you have the right goals, and you believe your action plan is dialed in… but your schedule and routines are all out of whack?
How do you solve the problem of: cannot successfully implement the action plan?
You start small. You pick one critical action that is part of your strategy. And you do that one action. Then, repeat. It sounds overly simple, but most functional things are.
I’ve had 3 different conversations with 3 different folks in the past 24 hours about how much they are loving Ulysses. It’s such a great app — I still do nearly all my writing in it. If you’ve got a writing / idea project in the works and you’re feeling scattered, you should definitely check out Ulysses and let me show you exactly how to use it.
If you spent 5 minutes every day doing pushups, would your arms get stronger?
What if you did that every day for a year? You would become a pushup machine! You’d be totally unintimidated to do pushups anytime, anywhere.
On the bus and your friend dares you to do a pushup — you’ve got this. At the office and you lose a bet to a co-worker — show them who’s boss and bust out your pushups.
Let’s suppose that in your life, there was a situation every day where you’d need to do some pushups. Wouldn’t it make your life so much easier if you were regularly practicing pushups so that when the time came, you’d be able to crush those pushups and show everyone your awesomeness?
Well, the same goes for ideas.
The benefits of having a functional idea muscle means you can be an idea machine.
Do you run a business? Are you a mom or a dad? Do you write? Do you design things? Do you make stuff? Do you have a challenge or a problem in your life that you’re trying to fix?
Each of your roles in life can benefit from your ability to come up with ideas. And, when you get good at coming up with ideas, it builds confidence and makes problems far less intimidating.
One simple way to build your idea muscle is to spend 5-10 minutes writing down ideas. Just writing and getting things out of your head. You don’t even have to DO anything with those ideas. The act of writing them is enough to un-clutter your mind *and* build your idea muscle at the same time.
I once read that anything worth doing is worth doing poorly. Giving yourself permission to stink will make it easier to begin. And starting is often one of the biggest hurdles of all. A crappy first draft of an email newsletter is far better than no draft at all.
Seth Godin wrote that “the only path to amazing runs directly through not-yet-amazing. But not-yet-amazing is a great place to start, because that’s where you are. For now.”
I recently got my copy of Todd Henry’s brand new book and I am very happy about it. If you do any sort of creative work, product development, — or just have autonomy in your job — this is a book of daily ideas and motivation to keep you focused on the joy of your craft.