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There are a few schools of thought in dealing with perfectionism.

There’s also knowing yourself enough to know which thing will make it happen more or less. This is a process of trial and error. 

And yeah, you always want to make sure a tried and true still works. After all, you’re not the same person today that you were yesterday. So it’s worth it to take something that works and see if something will work better. But as a matter of hindsight, put a time limit on trying something new. If nothing else, you might just like your old process better and you’ll get even more clear on what it is that you need.

This has been the lesson for the last few weeks.

I was dealing with a lot of not getting things done, putting stuff off that would get me the work that I need and want. With the entire world in a massive state of limbo I don’t want to beat anyone up about their lack of trying–there are a few monsters coming out of the woodwork that we think that we’ve beaten, and they are turning on us.

Don’t forget to forgive yourself for what you didn’t get done.

This sentence really hit me upside the head and knocked a bit of sense into me. It was a good thing to realize that this new technique I was using wasn’t working. In fact, it was pretty much annihilating any progress I had been making and that just doesn’t work for me.

I wasn’t that far ahead of my demons to let them catch up, if you know what I mean.

So I sat down and realized that I had an old technique I hadn’t been using for a while that usually got a lot of progress on most things. Sure there were still things that I would put off, but they would get lost in a long list and I’d feel less guilty not getting them done (tweezing eyebrows and things like that– no one sees my face that closeup right now.) because I had a long list of things that I had gotten done.

The trick with perfection is telling yourself that you only have 2-3 things to get done in a day, and once you get them done, you’ve done all you could.

Well, I wasn’t doing those 2-3 things everyday and I was beating myself up for not doing it.

Which is bad. That was my few steps back.

So I decided that I needed to make a long list of things, some that I was guaranteed to do, others that I needed to do, and a few things that just need to be done sometime this century. I try to keep the list to over 15 and under 25. It’s a psychology thing and I’ve found this range really let’s me do my best work.

I also really like duple projects.

Those are my favorites. Like I have a goal of writing 1000 words a day, and a goal of prepping a blog post a day. If I write 400 words of fluff and a 600 word blog post– oh look 2 things are done on my list.

It give me momentum.

That’s the magic.

There is something about getting a chunk of things done.

It’s a lot easier at 8 p.m. to make yourself do the three things that are left on a list when you’ve got ten things checked off. It’s a lot harder when you have a list of three things to get done when it’s the same time and you only have those three things on the list. It triggers the ‘I’m not good enough’ diatribe that is the only thing I’m trying to battle out these days.

It has no place in anyone’s mind, by the way.

The nice thing about a long list, is that you have to give yourself a break on it. There is a nice thing about an average of 60%. Some days you’re going to blow it out of the park and get this and that done.

And then there are going to be the days when the internet is down for four hours –during your best mental space time mind you– and 15 of the 22 tasks require the internet and one of them is this thing you need to come in the mail and you’re waiting on it. So that day is shot, but guess what, you can put all those things that you didn’t get done on tomorrow and try again.

Isn’t that great?

You take away the beat yourself up factor because you’re not just leaving tasks that weren’t finished but giving them a second chance.

Just like you’re giving yourself.

Eventually, even those frogs, you know the task you don’t want to do, will get done.

One of these days I’ll figure out how to make myself do it first, but I’d rather start my day with something that I like doing.

A spoonful of sugar makes it all go down easier, that’s for sure.

What about you?

What tactics, techniques, or torture methods get you through you to-do list?

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