More Doing, Less Planning, Less Perfecting
I like to plan. I like to make lists to help me plan. And I make perfect lists—every detail written down. I even make a little dash beside each item so that I can perfectly insert a little check mark when I complete it. It’s perfect. Beautiful, really. Everyone should make lists as perfectly as I do.
But you know, it’s not the lists I write down that get me in trouble. They aren’t the ones that keep me from actually getting around to it (whatever IT may be). It’s the lists in my head, the ones that never reach paper, that get me in trouble and make me a sorrowful perfectionist who has been unable to complete the project because she was planning it too much. Did you catch that? Because she was PLANNING it too much. Because she wanted it be PERFECT.
I have done this a lot. I think of a project I’d like to complete (host a children’s book club; have a cool little party for my kids’ friends, make a cute and crafty perpetual calendar journal (see below)), and in my mind I build it up to be a rather large, insurmountable project that requires my utmost attention to every detail. It must be perfect. And do you know what happens to my big ideas? They stay on the shelf and collect dust. They become too hard because “I can’t do it right.”
Somewhere along the way I decided “I don’t want to do if I can do it right.” I may have heard this while I was growing up, but lately I’ve decided that this mantra really just keeps me from trying. It gives me permission to just do nothing. I mean, we all know the Edison / light bulb story, right? Do you think if Edison had held to my silly little mantra he would have attempted to invent the light bulb? Doubtful. So why should I pass up numerous opportunities to participate in a beautiful life just because “I don’t want to do it if I can’t do it right?” Don’t get me wrong, perfectionism has a place…like surgery rooms, or cartography, and most definitely chocolate. But being a perfectionist shouldn’t keep me from doing things in life that interest me.
For example, I saw this darling little calendar journal on Pinterest.
I wanted one immediately. But it was going to require:
__ fruit box
__ 12 postcards
__ 180 4 x 6″ lined index cards
__ date stamp
__ paper cutter (or scissors)
(see my nice list??)
Ok, I didn’t have the fruit box. Poo. I didn’t have vintage postcards. Poo. I didn’t a date stamp. Poo. I didn’t have extra money to buy these things. Poo. My batting average was going down fast. Now, the perfectionist in me would have quit. But I LOVED the idea of this little calendar. So when the new year rolled around, I decided I’d had enough of this perfecting and planning. It was time to start DOING! MORE DOING!!
I started looking around. I did have a cute box. I did have note cards. I did have a pen that could write the date instead of stamping it. And I could make my own monthly dividers with cardstock I had on hand. So here it is:
I know it’s not nearly as cute as the one online, and it’s not finished, and it’s not perfect.
But it’s mine, and I did it, and I’m using it.
And that is the whole point.
(I know I need a better camera, but again, let’s stick to the theme this week.)
PS: I have tried and tried to fix the formatting of this entry, but I cannot get it to work! Sorry for the weird placement of “I”.