According to Flylady, we let our perfectionism get in the way of getting things done. This means most people never start something for fear of failure. It also can mean starting something, but not finishing it because it is never “just right”.
I have tried very hard to get over this perfectionism trait. While I aim for high standards and good quality of workmanship on what I do, I have learned there is more than one right way.
One example of not wanting to start something happened yesterday.
I have one chore I hate hate hate: sponja. For those of you who haven’t a clue what this means, it is how we wash our floors in Israel. There are many methods, none of which I’ve perfected, but the basic explanation of how to do this is as follows: pour liquid floor soap and water in a bucket. Pour soapy water onto the floor. Push water around with a sponja stick (a broom stick with a squeegee on the end). Squeegee the dirty water outside to the drain. Then place a rag under the squeegee to dry up the floor from any remaining puddles. Voila-you’re done.
I have spent four years minimally doing this task. Maybe I’m too American to learn this skill. I could never do it “perfectly”. Never-the-less, yesterday I had an energy burst for a major living room tidy-up and everything looked practically magazine-cover worthy except for the floor. (In Israel we have tile floors, not carpet). So, I bit the bullet. The soapy water was poured, the sponja stick retrieved from it’s forlorn corner, and I gave my best effort. Did I miss a few spots? Yes. Could you eat off the floor? Possibly, but would you want to? Did it look better? Absolutely. Besides, it will last this way until the next meal when someone will inevitably spill or drop something sticky on the floor and I will have another opportunity to practice this skill.
The obsession with perfectionism goes further than doing projects or chores.
Many people want to find “the perfect dress” , “the perfect gift”, “the best font” for an invitation. Take the pressure off yourself and realize whatever it is, it can be good, great, satisfactory, but it doesn’t have to be perfect. I have a very usual example of how I remember this message and I look to my silverware as a reminder. Huh? I shall explain.
When I was a newly engaged bride-to-be, we registered for “the perfect dishes” and “the perfect silverware”. Of all the sets of silverware we received, there was one mistake. We received one set of silverware that was not the one we picked. Customer error or store error I will never know, but we never returned it. Instead of lamenting on how it doesn’t match, I use it. Sometimes I wonder if this pattern is more “perfect” than the other one. I joyfully use it and it reminds me that the fork is a fork and it doesn’t matter so much that it is the “wrong” fork, just different. If I really hated it and it didn’t make me smile, out it would go.
So, if there is a task you have been avoiding, give it a go. Strive to do your best, and don’t drive yourself nutty trying to be “perfect”.
In order to prove this point, I am going to publish this post immediately without the million revisions I usually do. I hope this is readable as is and “good enough”.
Thanks for reading.
The Klutter Koach.