Last week I watched my mother write painstakingly complete and accurate notes to include with her documents for her tax preparer. The task required several weeks and took a steadily greater emotional toll as the deadline grew near. I remember when I was a gradeschooler and my father corrected my printing…modeling his upright and evenly-sized letters in a hard graphite pencil. My parents taught me that anything worth doing, is worth doing well perfectly.
My new insight is that perfectionism is as much a curse as a blessing. When my schedule is very crowded with urgent tasks, perfectionism raises my stress level to unsustainable levels. I have to give myself some new lessons. Not every task is worth doing perfectly; one must evaluate the importance of the task. Sanity is more important than perfection. Finished is better than perfect.