Rome wasn't built in a dayI’ve been working on work/life balance issues with my coach, Martine Brennan, because I tend to be an “all or nothing” kind of girl – which isn’t healthy!

I was telling her that I wanted to get started on one of my own projects, in between fee-earning work, and that I felt I hadn’t got very far with that, other than reviewing it and making some plans, which, I said “is better than nothing”.

“Say some more about the ‘better than nothing’ feeling…” Martine said.

So, rather than keeping it a secret between the two of us, I thought I would share my thoughts here, because I think it’s a common problem.

I’m not much of a planner (which is strange, considering one of my roles is as a project manager!!). Once I decide I want to do something, I generally just get on with it.

There are advantages and drawbacks to either approach. If you spend all your time planning, you could end up never getting round to doing anything. However, if you simply jump in with both feet, you might find, later down the line, that you’d like to change what you’ve done.

In 2010, I created a training course to show people how to build a WordPress website from scratch, and how to get clients from it. Since then, I’ve learned a lot more about WordPress, and about marketing, so I want to re-vamp the programme. In fact, I’d like to re-write it from scratch. The problem is, it took me the best part of a month, full-time, to get it to where it is now – so I’m a bit daunted by the task of re-writing it.

I’d like to just get stuck in, in my usual fashion, but having done it once, and not being satisfied with it, I want to make sure that I get it “right” this time. That’s probably my biggest obstacle – always wanting to make sure I get something “right”. It’s like – just doing something isn’t good enough – it has to be the best. It has to be p-e-r-f-e-c-t!!

Only, of course, it rarely is.

So then I abandon it, like an unloved child – afraid to tell anyone about it, in case they judge me and think badly of me, because I have created something imperfect.

I also have very little patience (great combination, eh?!), despite having the proverbial patience of Job when I’m working with other people. So, basically, I want to get it done NOW – AND I want it to be perfect.

Tough task, or what?!

So, in an effort to be kinder to myself – less demanding, less intolerant of my own inadequacies – I try to encourage myself to just do whatever I can, in the time available. Which, for the moment, means reviewing what I did in 2010, working out what I can keep (if anything) and what needs to be updated, and planning when I can get it all done.

And whilst I’m chomping at the bit, I realise that doing some reviewing and planning is better than doing nothing. It might be slow progress, but it’s progress, nonetheless. It’s moving me in the right direction – or in a direction, anyway. Only time will tell if it’s the right one!

Sometimes, if you look at a task in its entirety – like starting a business, or changing career, creating a product, or even building a website – it can seem daunting, and it can feel as though you’re not making any headway. It feels a bit like swimming the English Channel, doing doggy-paddle.

But if you can accept that even doggy-paddle moves you forward – albeit very slowly – then you can learn to appease that part of you that is constantly pushing you to do better and faster, and accept that some progress is better by far than no progress at all.

Big projects take time. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

11 thoughts on “Rome Wasn’t Built In A Day

  1. I love this Julia! I love walking alongside you as you ‘build Rome!’ I love your honesty and the clarity of your insight.

  2. Julia Barnickle

    Thanks Martine! It’s gradually getting easier to be honest, rather than trying to pretend I’ve got it all sorted! And I think the clarity comes out of being honest – as I write, it gives me an opportunity to analyse the situation and understand where the blocks lie, without going round and round in circles!

  3. Hi Julia, I’m quite familiar with this little conundrum myself. And yes, when we take a reality check – there never will be enough hours in the day and there is no such thing as perfect.

    Hope you are also creating an affiliate programme as well. I’ve been contemplating creating a similar course myself, however I’d be quite happy to promote yours instead 🙂
    Kyle Newman recently posted..5 Essential Steps to a Successful New YearMy Profile

  4. Julia Barnickle

    Thanks for that Kyle. Yes, I shall be creating an affiliate programme, so I’ll let you know when it’s all up and running! 🙂

  5. Hi Julia, it’s so true that Rome wasn’t build in one day. I also forget this sometimes. When you build something new you often want instant results but the reality is that most things take time. It’s not always easy to admit that you was not able to do a project or task in the time you have planned.
    Bruno Buergi recently posted..Don’t Let These Tips For Success In Affiliate Marketing Pass You By!My Profile

  6. […] push ourselves too hard and fast in reaching for that gold, so In Rome Wasn’t Built In A Day, Julia Barnickle has some good advice for us on taking things one step at a time:  if you can accept that even […]

  7. Julia Barnickle

    Hi Bruno – thanks. I’m glad to hear that it’s not just me who isn’t always able to to a project or task in the time planned! 🙂

  8. Ah, so true – and such a good reminder. I was just writing on ‘Where We Go Now’’s blog about prioritizing time, and why I should ‘know better’ after having coped with cancer and treatments. But life happens, doesn’t it? Doggy paddle moments are good. Actually, they’re really good – and yeah, they have a wonderful side-effect of pushing away the guilt.


  9. Love this! I too am an impatient overachiever and I always want to do more! I’m currently doggy-paddling as I recover from surgery and will be taking your advice!
    Pinkunderbelly recently posted..It’s been too longMy Profile

  10. Julia Barnickle

    Thanks Nancy! I’ve just read your blog post, and it sounds like you’re a much more impatient overachiever than me!! Try to be kind to yourself as you recover from surgery. 🙂

  11. Julia Barnickle

    Thanks Catherine. You’re right, of course – life does happen, and sometimes we need to just let it happen and not give ourselves a hard time about it!

    Sorry it’s taken me a while to reply to your comment, by the way – for some reason, my website decided that your comment was spam, even though you’ve had a previous comment approved. Technology, huh?! 🙂

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