Obsessing over small details has always been a struggle for me when it comes to creating things. I’m often labeled as a “perfectionist”, and recently I’ve found that it can actually hurt productivity, increase anxiety and depression. After finding this out it has completely changed my world in the sense I’m trying to deviate away from being “perfect” all the time, to letting things just happen almost naturally. In fact, even as I write this post I’m having a hard time because any sentence I write I’m so locked in edit mode that I’m constantly analyzing and adjusting without making any real progress. That being said, my new aim is write, produce, and create without paying any attention to small imperfections, then fix them later.
I found out about the harmfulness of perfectionism on psychologytoday.com and their explanation stunned me (I’m not promoting this site in any way). Learning about “perfectionism” and how if it’s rooted enough in someone can lead to harmful psychological effects drew the line for me. After that realization I know I have to change personally. Will it require lots of effort? Probably, and I’m going to give it my best.
Now that I know about this trait, my next step is to identify where and when it starts. For me that’s almost anything that takes time to create. A vlog, drawing, digital painting, writing, and other things that require planning and action. It starts usually the moment I begin any of these task, and I’m pulled into a critical analysis mode when I should be focused on creating, rather than procrastinating. That’s how the effect of perfectionism leaks into my productivity, however I do have a plan to fix this.
Next time I write or vlog I’m going to let the ideas flow and just keep going without pausing too long for small errors. I think there’s a special trait or character about simply speaking in the moment, versus taking too much time planning on what you’re about to say. As long as I’m writing as if I’m speaking- I think this is a much better way to write. Then after finishing I can go in and fix typos, restructure sentences, and delete things. This is the new approach I’ll take from now, but there’s also one more element to all this I forgot to mention. Practice.
Of course things come easier and more naturally (habitually) with practice. I’ve only gotten back into writing a few weeks ago, and that may also be a part of the problem. I’m very critical about what I put into words because I want I my writing to make sense, but there’s that balance between too much thought that’s stopping me from actually creating, to too much writing what’s on my mind and forgetting about the original objective in the first place. Hopefully putting into practice my new way of writing I can get more done and ease the burden of perfectionism. Besides, writing so perfectly to the point you feel anxious devoids the whole process of writing in the first place which is to enjoy it.
What’s the point of this post? This is a personal reflection and insight for anyone else with the same problem I have. Through writing this I’ve learned more about myself and I love sharing what I learn and observe with the world. If you’ve made it this far and acquired some new understanding of perfectionism, then I’m happy I could help. Thanks!