Done or Perfect?
|I rode my bike around my neighborhood today--a perfect Sunday afternoon. (A neighbor gave me this vintage bike when she was cleaning out her garage.)|
The other day I saw the words, "Better Done than Good," posted on Facebook by writer Elizabeth Gilbert (of Eat, Pray, Love fame). Gilbert also added a brief excerpt from an interview where she discusses how this maxim has helped her in a profession where she puts herself in the vulnerable position of sharing her creative work with the public and is, therefore, always open to criticism. Gilbert's post got me thinking. I did some searching online and found lots of references to "Better done than perfect" (rather than better done than good), but however one says this phrase, the meaning is the same.
In many ways I fancy myself a perfectionist, but I am also hyper-sensitive to deadlines. When I used to be a yearbook adviser, I was a tyrant about page submission dates and exacting about content--spending hours and hours at home, just tweaking a photo or checking and rechecking and rechecking for errors, inconsistencies, or omissions in text. This practice was certainly damaging to my personal life but beneficial to a quality finished product. When working on a team at school, though, I am aware that my peers often view tasks as things to "done," so that accomplishments can be checked off on a list to submit to higher-ups, so I have the nagging suspicion (more like confirmed conclusion) that I am a source of annoyance when suggesting ways to make things better. So I'm stuck. Which is preferable? Getting things done? Or getting things done well?
When I think about this question in light of the Gilbert's discussion, I realize that this sense of putting myself out there leads to perfectionism . . . and sometimes anxiety. I am not alone. I had coffee with a teacher friend yesterday, a woman who spends hours and hours every weekend reading curriculum and analyzing student data. She also spends tons of money she doesn't have on materials for her students. She worries constantly about whether she is a good enough teacher and whether she will get fired, even though she has worked wonders with a class of third-graders from poverty-stricken homes. We like to get together and share our woes. When she and I talk, our words probably sound like something from a Woody Allen movie, one where characters parse words and over-analyze every nuance of their behavior or, in our cases, also continually list items on our to-do lists.
Something needs to give for both of us. The warm weather today here in the South reminds me of that fact. I hung laundry on the line today, enjoying the mild breezes. I rode my bike, and then sat outside with my husband and savored a frozen yogurt with hot fudge sauce. I also knit some on my next top-down sweater. It's the second top-down raglan I've worked on since January 17, and it's my own design. I'm in a rush to get it finished, so that I can start some lighter, summery projects. Right now, I don't have an answer to the good vs. done conundrum (but would enjoy reading some other people's opinions on this matter), so for now I'm just racing along, knitting, tearing out, redoing--in an effort to make this sweater done and maybe not perfect . . . but pretty good.
|Even though spring seemed to arrive this weekend, freezing temperatures are predicted for later this week. Maybe I can finish this and wear it before the fall. I'm using Malabrigo Worsted (Azul Profundo).|
|This statue is in my neighborhood. Just had to share, as I like the posting of different virtues|
on each side.
|I bought ten skeins of this DK weight yarn on Saturday. It was $5.49 a skein, with 40% off. I'm trying not buy yarn but couldn't resist. I'd love to make a sweater for Saint Patrick's Day with this, but can't put myself through deadline stress.|