Perfection: the thief of “good enough”

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About Tsh

Tsh is the founder of this blog and lives in Bend, Oregon with her husband and 3 kids. Her latest book is Notes From a Blue Bike, and believes a passport is one of the world's greatest textbooks.

We move into our new home tomorrow, so I’ve been reminded yet again about that nasty little idol called ‘perfectionism,’ and how it just loves to rob our peace. I wrote this post at this time last year, when I was cuddling newborn Finn. Different home, same message still rings true.

If you suffer from perfectionism, like me, then you’ll know what I’m talking about here.

I’ve been staring at this chest of drawers that serves as our family’s craft cabinet for about three weeks. It’s totally disheveled — scrapbook paper rests under a baggie of googly eyes; Christmas ornaments are somehow tucked in amongst the stickers and glitter pens. It honestly hasn’t been organized since we moved here four months ago.

I need to go through it and put things in order. A few hours of shuffling and sorting, and the craft supplies would be organized and easy to find.

But I haven’t started the project because the ideal craft cabinet in my head would take an entire afternoon, and a constantly nursing newborn and two preschoolers in the house means I barely get five minutes to focus on anything.

I’ve put it off because if I can’t do it perfectly, I think it’s better not to touch it at all.

It’s ridiculous, really. When I write it out right now, I realize how childish this thinking is. But there it is… perfectionism freezing me from doing anything at all.

I’m sure none of you can relate, eh?

The theft of perfectionism

When you let perfectionism get the best of you, you end up settling for less.

  • If you can’t get a full work out at the gym, you won’t exercise at all.
  • Because you don’t have the time or energy to scrub the kitchen counters to a spit shine, you’ll just let the day’s dishes pile up.
  • You can’t really afford a full-scale organic garden in the backyard, so it feels pointless to even bother growing potted herbs from the kitchen window.
  • Saving for a fully-funded emergency fund feels like it’ll take forever, so why even save your extra 50 bucks a month?

Last week my mother-in-law was in town, and she commented on how she almost never sewed when her kids were little because she could never find the time — until she started sewing 15 minutes at a time here and there, randomly throughout the day.

When she told me this, I was looking at my stacks of fabric and uncut patterns behind her. I knew she was right.

Are there things in your life you’re not enjoying because you can’t dedicate the time you wish you had? Do you have projects left undone, waiting until a perfect storm of time and money crosses your path?

Or are you okay with good enough? Have you found that sweet spot of contentment, where you’re happy with the day trips to the zoo and museum even though a cruise to a tropical island is really your cup of tea?

I encourage you — and me — to make time this weekend to tackle those projects or enjoy little blessings that come your way, even if your life is messy. Spend 10 minutes curled up with a novel when the kids are miraculously quiet. Clear those breakfast dishes and empty the dishwasher, even if you have to leave the kitchen floor unswept. Paint your toenails — your fingernails can wait another day.

Me? I’m going to work on sewing my daughter’s dress and organize some craft supplies. I may only get to one drawer, and I’ll probably thread the machine right when my son spills lemonade down his pants.

But that’s okay… I’m pretty sure I’ll at least get something done.

What have you been putting off? What are you going to do this weekend?

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Comments

  1. Yes, Tsh, yes! Thanks so much for putting this out there today. This is exactly what I’m working on lately, and which colors my thoughts. I’m going for Satisfaction rather than Perfection, which is hard for me as it goes against my genetic programming. :)

    And it’s making a huge difference in my life.

    I blogged about it a few weeks ago (called When Enough Really is Enough, June 1) if anyone wants to read about it!

    Soooo okay with Good Enough,
    Amy
    amy´s latest post: Birthday Wishes

  2. Ahh, Tsh, this is SO me! It’s too hard – and probably impossible – to lose all my extra weight, pay off my debt, clean my house, etc. So I don’t even start. It’s so crazy! I KNOW that just getting started is the key. I know it. So why don’t I do it?

    Great post. Thank you.

  3. This is a great reminder to enjoy life rather than obsess about doing it perfectly. Have you read The Pursuit of Perfect by Tal Ben-Shahar? I just finished it. Really a good read on how perfection actually thwarts our happiness.

  4. Love this! Perfect reminder for me. Thank you.

  5. Thank you a million times over for this post! This describes my thought process “perfectly” (ha!) — and provided a much-needed reminder for me right now.

  6. I am sooooo guilty of this. Thanks for such a thought provoking post.
    Kim´s latest post: 241- That’s my boy

  7. Recently I grabbed the stacks and stacks of photos I had been meaning to organize into nice albums since my son was born two years ago, and I just started putting them into an album. No long process of sorting, labeling, organizing, etc.–I just filled a fun album and my son now looks at the pictures almost every day. All of the pictures are on disk if I choose to get creative later, but finally having tons of prints from the past two years to look at has brought so much joy in so little time! It was a relief to do, and it’s far from perfect, but the album really means something to me and my son. :)

    • That’s exactly it! I need to the same and you have inspired me to just do it, thanks for your post.

      • avatar
        Abigail says:

        Oh my word!! I have this same problem! With the advent of digital photography, zillions of photos pile up on my computer and never get printed and never make it into the baby book! I deal with actual GUILT about this! Glad I’m not alone. I just need to get ‘em on Snapfish, print ‘em off, and throw them in an album. I, too, worry about perfect chronological order, and captions, etc…..sigh.

  8. avatar
    Marilyn Holeman says:

    Aw Tsh–A perfect post for me this morning–and I don’t even have “littles at home any more! Thanks for the reminders. I’m going to go get started right now!

  9. You couldn’t have posted this at a more perfect time for me. I’ve been reminding myself of this daily, and slowly making progress, but I really needed this reinforcement.

    Thank you. :)
    Jodi Anderson´s latest post: this moment

  10. Absolutely wonderful post. It’s amazing what I can get done when I look for the small increments of time throughout the day and seize the opportunity. And too many times I put off big projects cuz yes, I am a perfectionist too. Thx for the reminder!

  11. What timely post. Just a couple of weeks ago I was at a breaking point with all the projects that were not getting done. I work full-time with three kids – no mommy time! I finally started getting up thirty minutes earlier and now spend that time knitting, sewing, whatever I want to do. It has done wonders for my mood.

  12. I was just going to say, oh I don’t really think that’s me, but then I started reading and said, “oh yeah, this is me.” Thank you for the post! I’m going to start working on things a little at a time and at least get SOMETHING done! :-)

  13. EXACTLY. This is my biggest battle. Thanks!

  14. Hi Tsh,

    Between your post today, and FlyLady’s mantras on the same subject- I am finally going to tackle the 3 foot high mound of paperwork I have stashed in a cabinet. If I clear even a half an inch, I will be perfectly content. I may even take the time to layout the settings for some new pendants that I “just haven’t had time” for.

    Thanks!
    Kaelin
    Kaelin Cordis´s latest post: Let me Fritter no more…

  15. Yes! I’ve recently discovered FlyLady.com, and she says you can do anything 15 minutes at a time. You may not get it done, but, you’ll get something done, and you can do more tomorrow. She also talks a lot about not striving for perfection and avoiding “stinkin’ thinkin’.”

    Enjoy your sewing!
    Rae´s latest post: Ugh

  16. Tsh, so glad to read this. I’ve just been trying to tip myself over the fence to just start moving on projects I keep putting off until I have the time and attention – planting fall lettuce in the garden, bookkeeping and . . . very pertinent . . . my website on family fitness.

    On that note, I’d love to put a plug in for some of the fitness tips listed on my website. It’s geared specifically towards tackling this problem. Over the years with two babes, a home business and a farm, my husband and I have developed quite a few strategies for sneaking in a little bit of fitness and getting great results through increments.

    Yes, it’s still a work in progress on my to-do list waiting for those golden elusive hours (HA!) but I welcome any visitors looking for lots of good ideas on how to get in shape in bits and pieces while having fun with your kids.

  17. This is so big for me to read. This is my BIGGEST problem as a mother, a wife and the person who manages/runs our home. I don’t do things because I can’t be perfect at them when, frankly, good enough would do us. I’m going to try and remember this (though I’ll probably not succeed at it as much as I’d like)

  18. Trying to live by this statement:

    “Do not let your craving to do something great, keep you from doing something good.”
    Amy´s latest post: Good Excuse!

  19. Wow! Thanks for kicking me in the rear with this post! Lots I want to do and just put them off because of my perfectionism. And, I also put things off because I am afraid of my success. Happy Friday!

  20. Thanks for the reminder…. I really needed this today.

  21. I am learning to live life in a “good enough” way. I can actually look at my house when it is a mess and not freak out. I still can not sit down and relax at the end of the day until the house is at least “picked up”, but now I’m ok if its not spotless.
    We have been putting off finishing our girls’ play house, but this weekend we might not get it finished but we will get a little closer.
    Meg @ Nifty Thrifty Life´s latest post: Pizza and a Movie Night

  22. I am due with our second child any day now and I was just telling a friend how I feel very stuck right now. I don’t want to start any big, or little projects know what is coming up and how drastically it will change the status quo. Your post is just what I needed to hear! Why should I be living in this boring space of waiting!!?? It is so true, just doing something for 15 minutes gets so much accomplished.

    This has really helped me stay on top of dishes. When I look at the pile is it so overwhelming but the moment I start it never takes more than 10-15 minutes. This post was a great reminder to apply that to other things I have been wanting to do instead of regretting that I never have time to do them! Thanks!

  23. I just had to comment today because my 3 and 4 year old looked at your pic and said, “That’s you, Mom.” They couldn’t be convinced otherwise. Anyway, I’m a faithful reader. Thanks for blogging.

  24. i so know what you mean on this. i struggle with the exact same thing. what finally got me moving was reading don aslett’s “how to have a 48-hour day” last year, and discovering that productive, busy people don’t schedule all their projects into big chunks of time–they just do what they can, when they can, and have tons of stuff going on all at the same time. that’s definitely NOT the way i used to operate. but it’s amazing how much i’ve gotten done in the last year just by following his philosophy!
    julia´s latest post: this moment

  25. I agree with the intention of this post, and I am sometimes guilty of stopping dead in my tracks due to fear of failure of certain pursuits. However, I think sometimes, instead of trying to kill ourselves by nickel and diming our time to try and accomplish it all, sometimes its good to just turn away and let something be messy too! Let the cupboard be disorganized. Let the toys stay on the floor during nap time. Eat pb and j for dinner. It’s also okay to let go of the idea of perfection in order to give ourselves time to relax! I am working on this one….

  26. Great post, Tsh! I’m right there with you–paralyzed by perfectionism. You’re absolutely right; we all need to find our sweet spot of “good enough”…something I have yet to find. Thanks for sharing on this–great thoughts.

  27. I needed this. I’m kind of an all or nothing gal. I love your MIL’s advise. Thanks! And ahve a great weekend!
    minnesota:madre | Sarah Jane´s latest post: this moment

  28. i love this reminder – thank you!
    I’m working on being “faithful, not perfect.”
    emily hope´s latest post: hope cafe mount 12×12

  29. Totally with you on this one – profound. I’m going to work on sorting through the paper piles this weekend.
    Becky – Clean Mama´s latest post: Weeds

  30. I love this post and can so relate! There have been so many times I’ve said or thought, “When I have a whole day I’ll tackle that task.” But guess what? I’m a mom of 3, and entire days to be devoted to one task just never come around. The things I have been able to let go of the perfection mindset and tackle a bit at a time I have so enjoyed, but I need to do it more the looking at things one step at a time.
    It Feels Like Chaos´s latest post: Its not titleable

  31. avatar
    LisaGrace says:

    You hit the nail right on the head for me this morning-thanks! I’m going to finish my home management notebook this weekend!

  32. Must be the time of year for thinking about these things! I just blogged about this as well, love your perspective and the idea that we have to get started. That seems to be the hardest part!

    http://thelonggirls.blogspot.com/2010/07/good-vs-great.html
    Erin´s latest post: A Medical Journal

  33. thank you SO much for this. i was thinking right before i opened my google reader about how sad i was that i can just never seem to find time for the things -i- want to do (and need to do). and it’s just like you described, unorganized sections of the apartment, craft projects not started, piles of dishes (ew). and i kept thinking, well it’s not because i’m too busy, because i can say no to people/things. but now i know -exactly- what the problem has been, and i feel like i can finally cut myself a little slack. thanks again!!

  34. Oh, I could have written this post! Thanks for the reminder that I shouldn’t let perfectionism get in the way of doing a little something here and a little something there.
    L Clare´s latest post: Booking Through Thursday

  35. Me. Me. Me again. Except I’ve been staring at my art cabinet for three months, and what’s worse– I have discourage my kids from painting or doing other art projects because the art cabinet is in disarray. Makes no sense, right? I think I’ll go do 15 minutes right now. Amen sister.

  36. Thank you for the much needed inspiration! You totally described me.

  37. I love this post! With two little ones in the house (and no husband at the time – military single mom, you know) it’s often overwhelming when I’m feeding, bathing, dressing, teeth-brushing. Sometimes I can get discouraged looking at all the dirty clothes all over the place because we were rushing from one thing to another. But then I throw a small load of clothes in the washer, and if they’re being easy during the bedtime routine, I try to throw the clothes in the hamper (even if I don’t have time to find all the shorts and shoes and socks hiding under the beds and behind the dressers at least I’m not ADDING to the mess).

    That’s basically my mantra – if I can help it, I try not to add to the mess, even though it’s really easy to say “The kids have already wrecked the playroom, why should I put this toy away?” and just throw it on the floor when it would take just as much time to walk over and put it in the toy box. Or put the dirty dish in the empty dishwasher, instead of in the sink, even though there is a stack of dirty dishes in the sink.

    So yeah – try not to add to the mess.

    I’ve been loosing it lately – your post reminded me of what a good idea this is :)
    Becca´s latest post: In the Pursuit of Excellence – Starting Simple

    • avatar
      Kimberley says:

      I am right there with Becca! Temporary single mom because the military needs my hubby to be somewhere else. One day at a time, one dish at a time, and striving every day to remember that people are more important than things, but sometimes we have to deal with the things (however imperfectly) to allow space in our lives to truly enjoy the people we love.

  38. You’ve inspired me to pick up my knitting that I haven’t touched in months. Even if it’s just a little bit, those little bits add up.

  39. I’m sending you a BIG HUG for this post. I do this all the time and needed the good enough reminder.

    I look forward to seeing a finished dress for your daughter, and for me to start that new book I kept telling myself I didn’t have the time to finish.
    Janna @ Mommy’s Piggy TALES – Record YOUR Youth´s latest post: Staying Home Alone- Sixth Grade

  40. Great post!!! Everyone needs to hear it all the time… Last year in my annual declutter I did a “drawer a day” project and balked at the last four – just.could.not.face. them.!!! After decluttering the whole house I was satisfied to have four messy drawers… Totally went against my normal bent!!! A year later they are still messy… I have kept them as a reminder that our house doesn’t have to be perfect… Every now and then (like daily!!!) I get a bit of a manic attack and want everything to be perfect… and then I go and look in the tool drawer that everyone uses everyday and I breath a sigh of relief… our home is like any other, messy and lived in.
    se7en´s latest post: Se7en Survives Sleep Deprivation…

  41. Better learn this lesson well or God just might give you 6 children in one year (which He did to me, through adoption) and you’ll be cured (or dead!)
    Debbie @ Cheaper by the Bakers Dozen´s latest post: Boys- Foolishness- and Forgiveness

  42. Needed this!!! Thank you! How did you know to write about ME? The walls in my bedroom are bare, because it has to be perfect. My kids out-grown clothes are not sorted, because I have to find the perfect system/container. These are just the beginning! So made I’ll just go throw some pics up on the wall, because, as I read recently, a bare wall is hostile, but a dressed one is so friendly.

    • Wow, amazing how this clearly strikes a chord with so many of us (yes, I hit the same topic on my blog a while back). The perfectionist in me is furious that I am 40 and have not yet conquered my perfectionism. ; )
      Daisy´s latest post: Guide for Informed Decision-Making- When and How Does Baby Sleep Through The Night

    • This is so me! I have discovered that I’m a perfectionist just in the last year or so. And by looking at my house or office — no one would ever think it. But I often feel paralyzed because I don’t have the perfect solution, amount of time, materials, energy, decor, etc. The problem is, I end up feeling worse because I don’t feel like I’m accomplishing anything because my perfectionism stops me from starting. It is a daily battle. Loved this post!

  43. My friends think I am nuts when I say that I am a perfectionist because all they see is the piles of stuff and disorganization! If they only knew! This does describe me and my husband has been trying to remind me to do things a little at a time. With 3 little boys there is no time, energy or money to devote to these projects like I would like to! It is good to see that I am not alone with my struggle. I am working on it but it is a challenge!

  44. Thanks for the good kick in the pants Tsh to not let perfectionism hold me back from doing things I want to do. Sometimes I am afraid of failure too, so I just don’t try. Well, buck up and just try! I’m attempting for this to be my motto now.
    Taylor at Stain-Removal-101.com´s latest post: Uses For Salt For Cleaning And Stain Removal

  45. This is exactly what I needed to hear today. I’ve been walking by the kids’ playroom for days without picking up the toys because I couldn’t find time to declutter, sort toys, organize art supplies, etc. After reading this I took 10 free minutes and put all of the toys in the toy box. They are totally unorganized, but at least they are put away and the kids have room to play.

  46. This is such a timely post. I’ve been having conversations with myself that it is *okay* for a mother of a 3 year old and a 5 month old to not always have homemade organic meals three meals a day. I was trying to make homemade breads, muffins, (including making from scratch tortillas for taco night!) buy all of our produce from the farmer’s market, blah, blah, blah. It was driving me crazy and making me beyond exhausted. (In addition to being a mom, I also have a full time job.)

    When asked why she didn’t quilt when my mom and uncles were kids, my grandmother looked incredulous and said “quilting is the kind of thing you do when your kids are grown!” Although that doesn’t have to be the case, it was another real-life example of accepting that there are seasons in life and we need to be flexible when choosing where and how to spend our time and energy.

    Delicious as they were, we’ll likely stick with storebought tortillas for awhile. Oh, and I carry my book with me all the time so that if I have even five minutes of wait time, I can read a few pages!

  47. I am so guilty of that! I’m not sure I can even put your advice into action though….because my craft room is just a giant storage bin right now I have to dig and dig just to get the sewing machine out, then I have to clear off the mounds of crap on the dining room table to put the machine….and on and on. My whole entire house is just piles and mounds of stuff. It’s overwhelming to do anything. I have a 3 year old and a 2 month old and still feel like I’m barely treading water day to day- not even swimming.
    :( but I guess trying counts for something right? ;)
    Kristi @ Creative Kristi´s latest post: Disclosure &amp Disclaimer

  48. Simple Brilliance. Thanks…
    Kat @ Inspired To Action´s latest post: Join The Maximize Your Mornings Challenge!

  49. i so needed this today. i can’t even tell you how much. i have so many projects that need to be done that i can’t even work on one – or couldn’t. thank you for the motivation.

    what a blessing!

  50. You inspired me to want to do so many things I put off. But instead I wrote a blog post about your blog, this post and what I don’t do. Here it is, thanks for always inspiring me!

    http://myworkingtitleblog.blogspot.com/2010/07/perfect.html
    angie´s latest post: Perfect

  51. okay, this is the first time EVER I leave comments like this. So I hope none of my friends/family will be reading this. I know EXACTLY what it means to put off something when you try to get the PERFECT results. I thought about painting my house exterior for a few years and start to get serious lately after my interior work is almost done. So I started to interview painters/painting companies, and this was last fall and now I have about 8 bids or maybe more. Meantime our new glass window glazing are peeling after the burning hot sun since replaced in January this year. I know I REALLY need to move fast. I have decided on the painter and set a target month but still not sure if I have made the perfect choice. My friend told me that it took only two days to paint her house. I thought she was crazy but I know that she thinks I am crazy when I told her that I estimate mine will take at least TWO WEEKS! Okay stay tuned if anyone is interested. One thing for sure, I do get good results in whatever I set my mind/hand on. I’d better right, after all those gestation period!

  52. Awesome! Thanks for the reminder!

    Robin
    Robin´s latest post: Happy Sunday

  53. Thank you so much for this, it was just what I needed to hear right now, now I need to put it in practice :)

  54. Fantastic! I’m EXACTLY the same way. If I can’t do it perfect, I don’t even start. It’s a struggle each day, but one I’m taking steps to overcome. Thank you for the reminder.
    Jennifer @ LifeNickel´s latest post: 4 Steps to Banish Late Fees

  55. My floors – the bathroom floors have been neglected and I want them cleaned so badly… Honestly, they’d be better if I spent 5 minutes on them instead of the Cinderella knees-kissing-lanolium that I have been invisioning…

  56. thank you for this wonderful post!! i am a type-A perfectionist personality to the T. love things cleaned, organized, well…perfect. it can definitely be a strength but also one of my greatest weaknesses as well…and i don’t even have kids yet! if there is a project (even a fun one!) looming over me that i am not quite sure how to go about tackling or just feel like there’s no way i can do it all at once and do it well, then it just never gets started. i think fear can be at the root of why many of us shy away from jumping with both feet and doing the best we can even if it’s just a 5-minute window to work on (fill in the blank). fear of failure, perhaps?? anyway, your post was so refreshing and much needed for me today. thank you.
    Lizzy G´s latest post: back on the train

  57. You just hit the nail on the head! I just wrote this in an email this morning: I am working on my very first project. I have the parts all done and just need to find the time to sit down and glue it all together. I have been putting that off for some reason. I guess I am scared that it will not look like it is supposed to. I forget that I do not have to be perfect when I do things :-)
    Thank you! I am going to set my project out and will glue a piece now and then as I walk by :-) Bless your heart & love to you! Grandma Patty Ann

  58. Such a great reminder. I read this a few days ago and had to link to it on my “Sharing Saturday” post today. Viewing my kids as they work has been one of the best reminders ever that my perfectionist tendencies aren’t always so pleasant for others around me. Drives me crazy when they pull perfectionist drawing or dressing on me! Geesh, and to think they have to put up with me all the time. :) Thanks for another great post. Here’s a link to my post today:
    http://rosiegirldreams.com/6-sharing-saturday/sharing-saturday-lots-more-links/
    Jeanine Ertl
    Rosie Girl´s latest post: Sharing Saturday Lots More Links

  59. This is great advice and it really does work! I used to get really frustrated if I couldn’t sit down and complete a project all in one sitting but doing it 15 minutes at a time can be just as fulfilling. I get a sense of accomplishment every time I can do a little bit of a project and I actually look forward to the next 10 or 15 minutes that I can spare. It becomes a little bit of a challenge to squeeze it in my day!
    Tina´s latest post: The Radio Flyer My 1st Scooter For Toddlers

  60. wow, this is really me !!!
    thank you so much for writing about this, and yes i’m aiming for more joy and less stress ;)
    cheers,
    bimbi´s latest post: before we move…

  61. A wonderful and timely reminder. Thank you!
    Kayla´s latest post: Gettin wordy

  62. Good, good, stuff. Thanks for the reminder. My heart was filled up just reading this.
    Tracey´s latest post: Footstool Slipcover

  63. Your photos and blog are just fantastic. As a wedding and portrait photographer in San Jose, I know that it’s challenging photographing outstanding pictures. I’ll be checking more often.

  64. You have no idea how much peace this article just brought me.
    Vivian´s latest post: Early Morning French Toast

  65. avatar
    Sarah M says:

    I am going to start going through the million baby clothes I have and separate the give from the still-useable… I hope?

  66. I just looked at my comment from a year ago when you first wrote this. Still rings true. Still what holds me back from getting things done and savoring the time and success that comes with things accomplished incrementally.
    Glad you reposted it!
    Sarah @ Fit Family Together´s latest post: Swimming Games To Get The Whole Family Moving

  67. This post brought tears to my eyes! I never thought of myself as a perfectionist – but when I read what you wrote I totally identified. Thanks for sharing and being real!
    Kristen @ Busy Kids = Happy Mom´s latest post: Mom Spotlight: Training Your Children (when it’s easier to do it yourself!)

  68. avatar
    kristen marie says:

    ugg….

    ” I’ve put it off because if I can’t do it perfectly, I think it’s better not to touch it at all.”

    This statement EXACTLY describes me and my blog right now…. I’ve bought the domain, webhost, brainstormed ideas, signed up for writer conference(which I m attending next week) and even have started getting ideas for posts ready. But thats the thing- I havent actually designed or started writing the posts!!!! I have felt that if I can’t do it 100% right the first time, I need to wait until I have time to do it…… I am such a perfectionist… i guess i fear if i do get my blog up and going and its not “professional enough” people wont take me seriously…. can anyone relate?

  69. avatar
    Carissa says:

    Thank you for the encouragement! Luckily yesterday I put my perfectionism aside and got five boxes full of clothes out of my closet that haven’t been worn for a long time, some were even 20 years old! The kids were napping and even though I knew I wouldn’t be able to finish I decided it was a start and a step out of the paralizing of nothingness.

  70. This couldn’t have come at a better time! I have really been struggling with this very same thing this week! I feel like I have so much to do that I find myself sitting there doing nothing because I feel like I can’t get it all done. I am a perfectionist to the core. Thank you for the encouragement to get things done little by little. Oh and I read your book and I love it!

  71. Oh, this fits me to a T! One of the banes of my existence is my home office. It just keeps accumulating clutter and it stresses me out, but I don’t do anything because I won’t be able to finish it all in one sitting or get it “just right.” Then the other night, I had an unexpected evening to myself. I turned on Netflix streaming on my computer and just did what I could in the space of a couple of hours. It isn’t perfect, but it’s better. And that was such great encouragement to keep doing bits here and there – they really do make a difference!

  72. avatar
    Sharon W says:

    I can so relate to putting things off because I can’t complete them in one sitting or know that no matter how much time and effort I throw at something, it will never be exactly the way I want it to be! We’ve been in our home for almost 2 years but I was very pregnant when we moved in and then had the adjustment of having a newborn in the house. So, our house never got organized. I’ve been doing bits and pieces here and there and it feels so good to even accomplish the smallest thing! Just this morning I rearranged two shelves so that all my cups were on one shelf and all the plates/bowls were on another shelf. Not sure what I’ll tackle this weekend, but I’ll try to make a dent in something that I’ve been putting off for a couple of years.

  73. Thanks for the reminder. I am a big perfectionist! Sometimes I feel like I can’t put shoes away in the closet without spending a whole hour organizing the whole thing top to bottom. Today I put all the shoes in the closet and walked away…and I felt a tremendous amount of peace even though the closet is all cluttered and disorganized. :)
    Amy´s latest post: Food Friday – Best Casserole Ever!

  74. i’ve been avoiding packing for a new move because it’s too emotional — ok, i now commit to packing something this weekend!

  75. This is me too!!! :) I have 5 kids ( 7, 5, 4, 2 and 1 yo) and I’m having a hard time finding any full amount of time to finish tasks… :/ I homeschool too, but we’re taking the summer break and it’s helped a lot, except that we’re moving in 2 days! I’m looking forward to the space and the purge of lots of our stuff! :) I realized this about myself a few years ago and it was so freeing, even though my house is still cluttered and toy clad! ;) I’m super excited to be graduating from a homeschool closet to a homeschool room!!! :) Yay! Thanks for this post! It’s nice to know we’re not the o ly ones who have Christmas ornaments that sneak out of their Christmas box!!! Hmmm! :)

  76. I can so relate to your post! I found it very encouraging–thanks for sharing it.

  77. Great reminder! Thank you! Something done is definitely better than nothing. I have learned to make detailed “to do” lists because it makes me feel good to see something scratched off, even it is only 2 of the 5 things that need done to complete the entire project!

  78. I have gotten better about things like this – think having a baby (who has grown into a messy preschooler) has helped. But yeah, there are still some things I want to get done that I haven’t started b/c I know there won’t be time for me to do it exactly as I would like.
    Emily´s latest post: Seven Non-Electric Ways To Occupy Children While Traveling

  79. Oh, I can SO relate to this…in every single thing you mentioned! I so often rob myself – and my family – of something, simply because it won’t look the way I envision it to. In fact I rob myself of the satisfaction of loving who I am, and what I look like, because my body, style, personality, etc. rarely look the way I hoped they would at this point in my life! Time to stop allowing the lie…to rob me of life!
    Thank you for this poignant reminder to live NOW!

  80. I needed to read this today.. I was called a perfectionist the other day and I was like ‘whaaaat, who me.. No way’ but your post got to me.. I hesitate at starting things or attacking big projects not because of my go to excuse.. I have small kids.. Secretly it can get done.. but has not got a chance of getting done.. Dare I say.. Perfectly.

    Thanks for opening my eyes in a new direction.. I’ll be hauling out the sewing machine today.. Not to make the whole quilt.. But perhaps a square or two everyday?

  81. i have perfectionism and it is so exhausting. thank you for this information!
    sapir´s latest post: The best solution to get rid of stretch marks – 10 beauty tips

  82. Cannot believe the synchronicity here. While writing morning pages today asked myself what was the block between my ideas and wanting to do something and actually doing them. Never thought of perfectionism until now. Thank you so much.

  83. Clearly you were talking directly to me here. I should probably read this post every morning. Thank you.

  84. avatar
    Carrie Taylor says:

    Tsh, thank you soooo much for writing this post. Thank you for putting yourself out there to share with us. I so can relate to the perfectionism freezing you. I have to say I have gotten so much better at not letting it freeze me but I still need to continue to work on it. :-) thanks again
    Carrie

  85. *sigh*

    Yes, yes, and yes..

    There is a plethora of things that need doing, but my perfectionism has frozen me in place. Of course I hate it, and I gripe about it, but there it is. Silly right? UGH, well, you’ve motivated me to go put my dishes away! LOL My son is self-entertained right now, what better time right? Thanks for the post!

  86. avatar
    Clark Minn says:

    Thank you very much for letting us read this post…This can really help a lot…Thanks again!!
    Clark Minn´s latest post: Jennifer Hudson’s Incredible Weight Loss Story

  87. I feel encouraged! Thank you.
    Sara B´s latest post: How To Drink Your Salad

  88. This is totally me. I’m so guilty reading your post! Good point here: “I encourage you — and me — to make time this weekend to tackle those projects or enjoy little blessings that come your way, even if your life is messy.” A great reminder to each of us to make time and small blessings really do count. Thank you for those encouraging words and for letting me know that I am not alone on this issue.
    Kate@Local Psychic List´s latest post: california psychic

  89. I relate very well to your post as I’m a sucker for trying to do things perfectly. Sometimes the quest for excellence which is invoked so often needs to be tempered with the realization that a lot of things in this world are fine as they are. It’s also a case of recognizing and accepting your limits.
    Stephanie´s latest post: Over the Counter Acne Treatment

  90. Great post, still very relevant a year later. We often miss out on some great opportunities, all because we fear we won’t get it perfect! I write about this same thing very often as is something that me and my audience deal with regularly!
    Bernice
    Living the Balanced Life´s latest post: THE best organizational tool

  91. So so true. Nice to get the reminder and I do plan on starting some projects that I’ve put off forever. Thanks!

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  1. [...] also have some work to do when it comes to perfectionism.  This article was a good reminder of [...]

  2. [...] Perfection: the theif of “good enough” [...]

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  4. [...] also know that my blog is never going to be able to offer posts like my fave blog Simple Mom on how to do this or how to do that. (Seriously, Tsh is the best [...]

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  7. [...] imperfect cookies. While reading through the Simple Mom blog the other evening, I found a blog post about me. The one who sacrifices “good enough” for “perfect”. Don’t [...]

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  10. [...] is just one of those posts that I re-visit over and over again, by Tsh. So good! Perfection: The Thief of Good Enough. This entry was posted in link love. Bookmark the permalink. ← Art Friday: Scrap [...]

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