Perfectionism or the Death of Creativity

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I’ve been working on my son’s birth announcements for about 12 weeks now.  First, there was coming up with the perfect design.  I wanted something that would be cute but would also be really fun.  No standard blue booties for my kid.

So I researched.  And researched.  Until I found a completely cute idea.  And detailed.  And very intricate.

Oh, and I have to make 40 of them.

Strangely, I thought I’d have more time when I was in the hospital.  I remembered having a good bit of downtime when my daughter Phoebe was born and thought that would be when I’d work on them.

But I didn’t count on being INCREDIBLY tired and having a baby that wanted to stay up all night.   So with the exception of just a couple of hours, I slept when the baby slept.

But now I’ve been home with my darling boy for eight weeks now and I still don’t have them done.  Part of it just the sheer lack of time that I have. 

Having a newborn and a preschooler at the same time has been a completely different experience than the first go around.  For one thing, the older child is AWAKE during the day and during baby’s morning nap times.  At the other end of the spectrum is my son’s interesting evening schedule.

IT’s gotten better, but he’s still up until 11 or so every night and then up at about 3 or 4 AM for a couple of hours.  Then Phoebe gets up somewhere between 7 and 8 in the morning.  So while I’m getting between 4 and 5 hours of sleep, being awake from 3AM until 11PM is pretty tiring.

Oh I sometimes get a nap before Phoebe gets up and sometimes I can time everyone’s afternoon naps so that I can get one but it’s not leaving a lot of time for anything else.

So when I do have a few minutes I can dedicate to something crafty, I need something that I can get done quickly and can also drop in an instant if little man decides he doesn’t want to sleep.

Here’s where the problem is.  As a perfectionist, I want to work on my craft and tweek and massage it and make it look just gorgeous.  This does not lend itself to being speedy.

So I procrastinate and wonder if I have enough time to work on a project.  I estimate how long it will take me to get my materials together.  I second guess the design I have in my head and I surf my favorite websites looking at ideas and examples.  Meanwhile, the clock is ticking and pretty soon, my son is waking up ready for a feeding or Phoebe is awake from her nap and wants a snack and I’ve lost the opportunity to get anything done.

Flylady says:

Perfectionism is when we decide that we can’t do something because we won’t have the time to do it "perfectly".

She is right.  I can’t do what I want because I’m afraid I won’t do it perfectly or I don’t have enough time.  I should just grab a couple of pieces and work on them and be done.

So that’s my challenge.  What about you?  Does perfectionism keep you from doing what you want?