I’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.