How are those New Year’s resolutions coming? If the answer is, "not so hot", may I present: Challenge #3, "Done is better than perfect!" Of course, you should strive for your best in all you do as the good Book says:
"Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest." ~ Ecc 9:10
However, if you never start (or complete) a task because it has to be done perfectly, then that is not doing it "with thy might"!
"Let all things be done decently and in order." ~ 1 Corinthians 14:40
Make a list, on paper, not in your head of all the tasks you want to complete. You can’t make pretty check marks in your head. Well, you can, but it doesn’t feel as good as scratching off those task and knowing you are finished! So, make your list and number it according to priority. Make several lists. Make a "bucket list" of the things you want to accomplish in your lifetime. Make a list of the things you want to do this year. One for this month, one for this week, and then look at those lists and determine what you can do today. Does today’s "to do list" match up with your life’s goals? It really should!
Let your list be your guide, all the while keeping this motto in mind, "Done is better than perfect."
When your daughter sweeps the floor and you spot a crumb, "Done is better than perfect!"
When your husband loads the dishwasher in some strange, crazy fashion, "Done is better than perfect!"
When your toddler folds the washcloths into a leaning tower, "Done is better than perfect!"
When you need to mop the entire floor but only have time for a "spot" mop, "Done is better than perfect!"
When you have a sink full of dishes and you stuff them into the oven instead, "Hidden is better than in view when company comes over."
Just kidding about that last one. Sort of.
Now, let’s talk about the why of procrastination. The "experts" seem to say that it is because of perfectionism, lack of self confidence, inability to focus, fear of failure, fear of success, a lack of motivation, and 100 other reasons why.
In case motivation is the cause of trouble, I’ve collected some quotes which when copied and posted in a high traffic area may serve to motivate.
If you are putting tasks off, be it something really nasty like cleaning the toilet, or even something totally fun like having lunch with a friend or working on a hobby (maybe you feel guilty for not doing the nasty tasks or not doing them perfectly; so you don’t do the fun ones either) then here are your quotes:
What may be done at any time will be done at no time. ~ Scottish Proverb
If and When were planted,
and Nothing grew. ~ Proverb
Sometimes you just have to force yourself to let go an get go(ing).
If you have trouble staying focused and on task, then remember:
If a task has once begun.
Never leave it till it’s done.
Be the labor great or small.
Do it well or not at all.
Well, perhaps it would be best to disregard that last part, especially if you are a perfectionist, and remember instead:
Done is better than perfect.
Done is better than none.
A good idea today is better than perfect idea tomorrow.
Don’t let best get in the way of better.
A good beginning is half the battle won.
The first blow is half the battle.
If you are a perfectionist, forget:
Poorly begun is never done and go with this instead:
Well begun is half done. ~ Aristotle (Well not Perfectly)
Here’s a quote to defeat a bad attitude:
It is our attitude at the beginning of a difficult task which, more than anything else, will affect its successful outcome. ~ William James
For those who struggle with the task because of the mundane nature, here are some quotes for you:
I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble. ~ Helen Keller
Few tasks are more like the torture of Sisyphus than housework, with its endless repetition: the clean becomes soiled, the soiled is made clean, over and over, day after day ~ Simone de Beauvoir
OK, maybe not that last one, I just thought it was funny.
Sometimes you just have to do whatever it takes and just do it.
There’s a secret that real writers know that wannabe writers don’t, and the secret is this: It’s not the writing part that’s hard. What’s hard is sitting down to write. What’s keeping us from sitting down is Resistance. ~ Stephen Pressfield
To have begun is to have done half the task; dare to be wise. ~ Horace
Even if you’re on the right track –
you’ll get run over if you just sit there. ~ Will Rogers
The greatest amount of wasted time is the time not getting started. ~ Dawson Trotman In a moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing to do. The worst thing you can do is nothing. ~Theodore Roosevelt
If you are staring at that mountain of laundry and thinking, "Now where did I put those matches." Remember:
The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one. ~ Mark Twain
Instead of tossing that load on the flame, toss it in the washer! Laundry is a task that is never "done". It is only a work in progress with various stages of completion. If, however, you fail to keep the wheel in motion, then you end up with a mountain and start looking for a shovel or matches or prozac. Which brings me to my next point:
Once begun, don’t leave it undone!
There is nothing so fatal to character as half-finished tasks ~ David Lloyd George
Don’t allow fear to control you and keep you from success.
Procrastination is the fear of success. People procrastinate because they are afraid of the success that they know will result if they move ahead now. Because success is heavy, carries a responsibility with it, it is much easier to procrastinate and live on the “someday I’ll” philosophy. ~ Denis Waitley
Procrastination is the grave in which opportunity is buried.
Keep your eyes on the prize! Concentrate on how good you will feel once you have accomplished your goal.
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. ~ Mark Twain
Whenever you are tempted to just put it off tomorrow or that you will do it "one day", remember:
Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task. ~ William James
And finally, Don’t worry about the world coming to an end today. It is already tomorrow in Australia. ~ Charles Schultz