A Way to Overcome the Perfectionist in You: Create Something Every Day
UI Engineer | Illustrator | Open Source Lover
No matter how simple a task you may choose, doing it every day is never easy. I took up this challenge to create and publish one Illustration each day throughout October. During this time I went through a spectrum of emotions — from fear, embarrassment, confusion, denial, thinking too much about other people’s opinions, not giving a flying sh*t about other people’s opinions, questioning myself mid-way — why am I even doing this? — to eventually lead to a mild sense of accomplishment. (whispers: yay!)
Why did I decide to do this?
Three things mainly helped me decide to do this:
1. I am a big believer in sharing my work and knowledge. It not only helps you log your progress, and learn from all the feedback but also helps other people who may be in the same learning path as you are. Even with this belief, I felt that I wasn’t ‘ready enough’ to share my work. I’d say to myself I’ll start sharing when my work is ‘good enough’, but I never felt like I reached there.
2. So, having had enough of this, I made up my mind right in time for Inktober
(which happens throughout October each year).
3. “But really? This October? I have the tightest work deadlines this month, heavy assignments from uni and three exams to prepare for. I’m loaded! But wait ! — when am I not? ”, I was never going to be ‘free enough’, or ‘ready enough’ or ‘good enough’. If I had to start, I had to start now!
And so I did.
So, how did it go?
Since I had to create something new each day, I could not spend most of my hours perfecting and over-polishing my work. I just sat down, followed through a process, and whatever the end result was, I posted it.
Some days were really easy to get into the flow, and some days were maddeningly tense.
Did I really do it every single day?
For the first 18 days — Yes! But then, on some days, it became difficult to even show up no matter how much I wanted to. It’s embarrassing to commit to something publicly, and not be able to fulfill it. But I had to teach myself to be okay with this! When I finally had time after a couple days, I was able to catch up, and I remember feeling very happy, even like I had achieved something significant.
1. It is important to be okay with calling a project done when it’s time. It’s important to put it out there, learn from the feedback and move on to the next thing or stage and continue to learn and grow.
Does this mean you should never polish your work and make everything just average?
— No, just remember not to dwell on a problem too much and understand that not everything you create can be a masterpiece.
2. Do not optimize too early. If you get too involved in the nitty-gritty, it is highly likely that you will miss the bigger picture.
3. Let go of non-constructive and non-actionable feedback— from yourself and others.
4. Strive for consistency, not just in your style, but also in terms of consistently putting effort. Follow a streamlined process, and feed in your efforts.
5. Explore and take time to find your style. Use your interests and passion as a guide. Think about what kind of problems you can solve.
Done is better than Perfect
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