Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Perfectionism- the enemy of productivity

I try to keep my house pretty clean most of the time but sometimes perfectionism gets in the way. How could perfectionism possibly keep you from having a clean house? Shouldn't your house be cleaner if you're a perfectionist? Not at all.

Case in point- When we moved, we planned the boxes to go directly into the room they belonged to make our unpacking simple. But we had a few stragglers that didn't belong in specific rooms since they had come from storage. Thankfully we have a second bedroom to put them in, while going through them. This room filled up with the random stuff much quicker than I anticipated. In fact, it was so full we weren't able to close the door! So every morning I'd walk by this room and say "I can't live with all this junk! I HAVE to go through it and get rid of it all!" A good intention, right? Enter real life. I have a baby who very adorable-y asks for my attention, most minutes of the day. There are meals that have to be made. My charming husband has papers he needs me to read and cases to discuss. Needless to say, not a lot of work has gotten done on the room.

A few days ago I was thinking about my everyday household cleaning and realized I hadn't vacuumed in more than three weeks. And as I was thinking about the vacuuming, I found myself saying "I can't do that yet, I need to clean the guest room clean first". What?! I can't do basic maintenance until an out of the way upstairs room is clean and organized? Why?

Because perfectionism got in the way. I needed the perfect house that was in my head before I could maintain it. And I wanted it with the wave of a magic wand, not breaking it into bite size pieces that could be accomplished while my son is in bed.

I find myself often struggling with this problem. Whether it be losing the last few post pregnancy pounds, growing in the Lord, or maintaining a budget, perfectionism frequently gets in the way. I don't want to do the little things that maintain or move me slowly in the right direction. I don't want the kind of results that you can only see from hindsight. I want them NOW! I want them BIG! But life rarely works that way.

So after I vacuumed that day, I realized what a difference that one little thing made and like anything worth doing, we do it in hope.

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