The title of this post is a bit pessimistic, but the topic I wanted to talk about today is actually about positive attitude and dealing with perfectionism. I was going to write about something else today, unfortunately I made a newbie mistake of updating my theme without making a backup. So the little bit of customisation I had setup earlier just got accidentally erased. I could try to recreate it, or start looking for a new theme, however one of the promises I made to myself for this year was to stop being such a perfectionist.

Trying to get everything perfect from the very beginning often meant hours and hours of research, setting up and tweaking mostly unimportant settings. It’s great of this kind of attention is given to the current project, unfortunately otherwise it is just another form of procrastination. An excuse to not work on the whatever you’re meant to be working on. Just like in this case you can’t just post bare-bones content, can you? Well, yes you can. Do what needs to be done now and leave all the fluff stuff until it actually makes a difference.

Striving for perfection is great, but you need to acknowledge that achieving it is unlikely. There will always be something that could have been done better, or a new solution to a problem will emerge with time. 2013 for me will be a year when I learn to let some things go. It’s time to accept that I really cannot work on 20 projects at the same time and expect them all to be finished within the unrealistic deadlines I have been setting.

It doesn’t mean doing shoddy work – the stuff you decide to do should get the same level of attention to detail as any other project. And if you postpone working on something make sure you leave a note to yourself (maybe add a task to your to-do list) so that you don’t forget about it once you finally have time to get that work done.

For this reason going forward I intend to stick to 2 major projects running at the same time. I will still do occasional quick jobs, but will try to make sure I answer the following questions when working on these:

  • Is this work/piece of functionality needed right now?
  • If not done now will doing it later be harder/more time-consuming?
  • Am I avoiding doing other work?
  • Is this needed to complete a project for a paying client?

With these questions it’s easy to see that my theme problem doesn’t really need to be fixed right now:

  • NO – The site isn’t broken without the deleted header picture.
  • NO – As the blog was going to get a new design sometime in the future any way, it wouldn’t be productive to change the theme right now.
  • YES – Yes, I was supposed to do some writing and prepare a weekly schedule.
  • NO – It’s a personal blog.

With three out of four negative answers it’s quite obvious that I really should be doing something else right now.