Flexibility, perfectionism, and the sorting chute

In a conversation about calendars and keeping households collectively time-organized, we touched on personal planners. Mine is paper, next to my desk, and I designed the sheets.

Details aren’t important because takeaway from the conversation was about flexibility, not planners. 

For many of us who are perfectionists in various stages of recovery, figuring out the details of the pages of a homemade planner might take more time and energy than others would consider necessary. (In  this case, others would be correct.)

Beyond that, we might stick with the plan just because we crafted it so meticulously.

The first pages I printed didn’t work the way I wanted so I changed the layout. Much better. Later, I edited another small detail to save time and hassle, and it’s even better.

It doesn’t matter that the first way didn’t work. And it doesn’t matter that I didn’t figure all of that out first.

If you’re reading this and have no idea why this would even be a blog post, you’re not the audience for this message. Good for you not to have this kind of overthinking take up energy.

If you’re reading this and connect with some of the story:

• you don’t need to know all the details ahead of time for a project that is not high-stakes.

• it doesn’t matter if the first way works.

Redoing things bothers me a lot, so I spend a lot of time planning in an effort to avoid redoing. Measure twice cut once.

Sort of. 

Where I get stuck is the space where all the planning is both too much and ultimately not that important. Just do the thing, Heat, and if it needs to be adjusted as you go, adjust as you go.

It’s a calendar. Or a web page. Or a painting. Or a blog post.

It’s not a house, where it’s going to be expensive or impossible to edit (structurally) as you go.

It’s not a surgery or assembling a pacemaker or even developing a workshop or curriculum where people might be overlooked or served poorly.

Enter the sorting chute: does this need to be planned meticulously, or is “good enough” good enough? If you can figure that out at the front end, then you’re more likely to spend (or conserve) energy well on the rest.

Leave a Comment