Impatience

One of the major impediments to my own productivity is impatience. Part of me always wants the thing accomplished now, better, faster. Any imperfect efforts are not good enough and certainly not as good as the fantasy I maintain of what can be. Working with this impatience is frustrating and sometimes paralyzing. So how the heck am I supposed to get anything done?

Chunk It

Breaking projects into bite sized chunks has helped me a lot. The key here is to define a task as something that cannot possibly be done wrong. “Create Design for Blog” is something very difficult to do perfectly, but “find four photographs for a possible banner image” is something that, once satisfied, is difficult to find fault with.

Leave Room for Iteration

There is always room for improvement, but how often do we give ourselves that room? Whenever possible, I plan for iteration of tasks and projects so that I don’t have to do it perfectly the first time. It’s much better to rework something several times than spend the same period trying to get it right once. Techniques like Agile Software Development have taken this idea and used it to complete huge projects involving teams of workers. So it should work for my own personal projects, right?

Forgive Yourself

On the first try or even the fifth, sometimes a project won’t work out the way I’d like. At that point it’s crucial to forgive myself, learn any lessons I can from the process, and move on. Failed attempts are inevitable and carrying around bad feelings about them only puts more pressure on the next project, creating a vicious circle of inflated expectation and dashed hopes. &lquo;Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.&rquo; So said Samuel Beckett, and he knew a thing or two.

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