Friday, June 22, 2012

Done is better than perfect

I made this desktop banner to remind me to get on with doing things. 

I'm a bit of a perfectionist so I tend to not 'finish' many projects. I do this at home and at work. That means I've started many a great idea over the years and spent hours and hours working on the project, only to not complete it. This is a problem, as I don't get the recognition or fruits of all that work.

I just can't help myself. I have a constant need to improve material. I've been teaching for over 20 years now and, despite teaching similar classes each year, I'm always expanding material. I barely ever teach a lesson the same way twice. I do like to develop habits in the classroom, so we have our routines. For example, all my students know how to set-up equipment and put it away properly at the end of lessons. The skills I'm teaching are the same every year. But the content has to be updated- both for my sanity and to keep the kiddies engaged. 

The funny thing in teaching teenagers who have wide access to materials every day, is that music that is just a year old, is considered really 'old' to them. This didn't occur 20 years ago. Students didn't have access (via the internet) to such a rapid pace of change in music, therefore I could reuse the same pieces for a few years. Nowadays, anything I drag out that's just a few years old and seems relatively new to me, may have actually been in the charts when they were in early primary school. Therefore, it appears to be from their childhood! Thankfully, most contemporary popular music is built on the same foundations as popular music was from 20 years ago. And- quite often, I can drag out an oldie because it's just been released as a new hit by another artist.

My biggest problem, however, comes in my home. I'm a perfectionist in organising and cleaning. I'm no ten-minute cleaner! I can't handle doing a quick clean of the bathroom and accepting that this is okay. So I end up spending a couple of hours on the one area and make it really, really clean. This then means that I don't have time to clean a bigger area. 

I have, gradually, had to come to accept that a quickie clean is adequate. It's better that I get a lot of area in reasonable shape than to waste time on little things that are barely noticeable to most people. 

Thus my motto for the past year has been 'done is better than perfect.' I'm slowly coming to terms with this and putting it into practise.

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