Tuesday, December 6, 2011


No, that’s not a typo.  I did mean to say practice makes imperfect.  This month’s article explores the advantages of learning to do things less than perfectly. 

As writers, artists and creative people many of us get caught up in the belief that it only “counts” if our work is perfect.  With full calendars and pages of To Do lists, the holiday season is a great time to challenge that belief. 

Think about it.  How many things in your life actually need to be done perfectly?  With the exception of maybe brain surgery, not all that many.  That’s not an excuse to do sloppy work, but an invitation to look more closely at what you are trying to accomplish, what’s important to you and how you want to spend your time.

Look at your current to do or task list.  How many things on the list need to be done perfectly?  Buy milk at the store?  Buy wrapping paper?  Return a phone call?  Address envelopes?

Below are three ways to practice imperfection----and get things done!


Try this.  Make a quick list of all of the projects, tasks, and work you haven’t even started because you thought you couldn’t do it perfectly.  Think about the novel you’ve envisioned for years but haven’t started because you needed to take one more writing class.  Or the journal project you promised yourself you would begin five years ago, but you didn’t have just the right journal to get started.  Keep the list handy so you are aware each time you stop yourself from starting.


Take five minutes and make a list of everything you can think of that you need to do in the next week that doesn’t have to be perfect; it just has to get done.  Use the list to remind yourself that done is better than perfect.  Sometimes to just “get by,” is really all you need to do.  For example, you might need to wrap holiday gifts.  Do the best you can to get by.  You need to send greeting cards.  Set a timer and challenge yourself to get done, rather than write the perfect message.


You know the old joke, “How do you eat an elephant?”  The answer, of course, is one bite at a time.  Think about a project you know you have been delaying or avoiding.  You know what they are---cleaning out a closet shelf, writing a proposal, studying for a test.  Let’s say you have promised yourself to write a story for your young niece this year.  Take out your calendar or Blackberry and right now, note when you will begin the draft of your story. Then note when you will finish the draft.  Next note when you will begin editing the story.  Do the project one bite at a time. 

Imagine the personal and professional benefits if you were able to get to more of the tasks you need to do as well as the unfinished writing and creative projects in your life, finished.  Remember, done may be better than perfect!

Wishing you a happy and healthy holiday season!

If you find you could use some help getting organized, schedule a GRATIS SAMPLE COACHING SESSION via phone or in person to find out if writing & creativity coaching is for you.

Phone (800) 552-WRITE, that's (800) 552-9748 or write to me at susan@susanborkin.com to find out more.

Take good care,


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  1. Hey Susan,

    Well, maybe a small elephant! It seems to me that the best way to insure success with any project is to break it down into doable, measurable parts. Takes the "overwhelm" out of the picture, and almost guarantees success!

    All the best,


  2. The older I get the easier it's become to "just do it!" What a liberating concept to not stress over all those little details and be able to check off another item on my list.
    Thanks for your inspirational ideas.