Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Tick tock

I spent my weekend cleaning my house (and doing a spot o' drywall repair--turned out pretty good) in preparation for my mother's arrival this Friday. As I was pondering how it can take so many hours to clean such a small house, I realized it was because I was too easily sidetracked by minutiae:
  • I wasn't just putting my CDs in the rack, I was alphabetizing them
  • I wasn't just dusting, I was rearranging the contents of my shelves
  • I wasn't just cleaning my desk, I was separating my writing utensils by type
I do this in my work sometimes too--and it's never a good thing. One of my clients has a quote taped to the wall above her computer that says "Don't let perfection get in the way of good." It's something I should keep in mind.

My mother doesn't care if The Pixies precede Poi Dog Pondering, or if Grandma and Grandpa are facing the same direction on the bookshelf, or if my highlighters are mingling with my ballpoints. Of course, it's not quite the same story with my clients--they expect, deserve and pay for a certain level of quality from me--but it's still in my best interest (and theirs, if I'm working against a deadline or a tight budget!) if I take a minute to stop, look at my work, and ask myself if I'm letting perfection get in the way of good.


Angie Ledbetter said...

I treat my slight case of ADD with lots of coffee. *Poof* no more overcleaning and such. :) Have a good visit!

Anne said...

How true, how true! Perfection is such a problematic goal. Getting something "perfect" is also a good way of procrastinating. Either you're too busy to have the time to make it perfect so why even bother, or you spend time with the minutiae of one project to avoid moving on to a project more distasteful.

I hate housework but am always envious of the sparkling clean houses where everything is in its place, so I fall victim to the perfection trap frequently, then become overwhelmed by the impossibility of it all.

Amie said...

Angie, I would be even WORSE if I were caffeinated!

Anne, you may be onto something with the "perfection as form of procrastination" thing . . . I am a highly-skilled procrastinator!