Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Just Do It!

Is it just me, or do you find the preparation process for a task you don't want to do exhausting?

It's kind of ridiculous, actually. If I just parked myself in the chair, or grabbed the dust cloth or sorted the papers or walked into the kitchen and started already, it would be so much easier.

Instead, I find multitudes of other things to do. Sometimes they're more interesting, sometimes they're truly mundane. Sometimes they're just there.

Or I make excuses. I'm too tired to fully concentrate. I don't really have enough time to do it well. I don't really have everything I need to do it the right way.

Is it just me, or does it smell like perfectionism in here?

Doing it fully, doing it well and doing it right should be good things, but instead, they're often obstacles to doing it at all. Not everything requires a preparation process, and inserting one by means of delays or excuses is often simple avoidance dressed up in evening clothes.

The irony is that the longer we "prepare" by avoiding, the farther away we get from doing it fully, doing it well or doing it right. We end up doing it in a hurry and disappointing ourselves with the outcome, but we've created built-in ego protection. No wonder it's not good. I did it in a hurry.

Ah yes. The stink of perfectionism.

Really, how much physical preparation does it take to start revisions? Dust the living room? Go through that stack of papers? Cook dinner?


But the mental gymnastics are amazing. Olympics-worthy.

So yesterday, I decided to short-circuit them. The combination of annoyance with myself, frustration and pure guilt triple-teamed me and made me do what I know works - especially when I'm being triple-teamed.

I downsized, choosing one task from each of two competing categories (household and writing). And I wrote the designated tasks on my calendar. For today.

And I did them.

The funny thing is, getting started is the hard part - the hurdle I need to clear to get to the straightaway ahead. You'd think I'd remember from one time to the next that once I clear the hurdle, there's usually an unobstructed (if slightly rocky and hilly) path on the other side.

And I do remember. It's just that the hurdle is so high that I think I need to prepare to clear it, when really, all I need to do is lower the hurdle. Sit in the chair. Grab the dust cloth. Sort the papers. Walk into the kitchen.

Crumple up the perfectionism and toss it in the trash.

Now that's preparation.

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