Tag Archives: perfectionism

Perfectionism and Plans are not Perfect Partners

If we were having coffee, conversation would stall because we would be too distracted by TV. I’m not watching, but can’t think about anything else while it’s on.

The ads are not much better — perhaps it’s just my mood. When I really want to, I can drown it out and focus on what I’m writing.

What’s annoying is when you get the feeling there was something else you were supposed to be doing, but you can’t pull your thoughts together enough to remember what it was. Instead, you keep staring at the TV, even though the panellists are cracking jokes you mostly don’t think are funny.

Come to think of it, there were lots of things I should have been doing, such as:

1. Painting a tree that the tree outside my window complains looks more like a tiger.
2. Several other pictures I abandoned, and they weren’t looking all that bad.
3. Writing to Apple (something about a bug report).
4. An online CBT session I should have done on Friday.
5. Keeping up with CBT homework, which includes noting my mood every two hours.

Actually, not doing my CBT homework is the main reason I’m avoiding the next session. I got a nagging email that says we will get the best from it if we complete one session a week. I don’t know why waiting another week should ruin the flow of it, especially if I already ruined the flow of it by not doing my homework.

Mood for 22:00…. rattled.

The TV has been turned off, thankfully, but a cat has come in and is sitting at my feet staring at me… as a result, I’m no less distracted than I was previously.

I asked why people keep mocking Piers Morgan, and Mum said, “Nobody likes him.”
“Why… what did he do?”

You can’t really laugh along with them when you know they’re making digs at someone you know nothing about… that’s just one of the things I wasn’t finding amusing. You look at people on TV who have their own in-jokes, and feel alienated from most of them… does that qualify as a ‘mood’ too?

It’s not surprising, I guess; in-jokes are a bonding mechanism. If you don’t know what people are nudging each other about, it makes you realize you’re not one of them. Perhaps most people watching the show understand these attitudes and inferences, and that thought makes me feel even more ‘out of it’. I suppose I could google Piers Morgan but don’t want to. Live and let live.

Nursing your coffee in the other chair, you are nodding politely, but I can tell you are wondering what rock I’ve been living under! Well, I was not too far from Castle Rock once upon a time. I still love the city of Edinburgh. We visited it a little while ago but I wonder if I will ever see it again? I doubt it. The very name ‘Edinburgh’ feels like home, and that’s enough, really.

The nagging feeling of distraction is persisting. Let me just take care of these cats for a moment…

Samson jumped eagerly into his bed… heart-warming. 🙂 Now that we’re all sorted out for the night, I feel more focused… slightly. More coffee?

I’m still not following the little timetable I made. I got tired and stressed on Friday after being unable to sleep. The next day I was a zombie and nearly got run over twice, so the timetable naturally took a back seat. I had a strong feeling I was going to continue to ignore it, and decided I should simplify it a great deal.

I did that this morning and was suitably smug, feeling I might successfully complete my CBT homework this week. Well guess what… I forgot it again. I forgot such a plan even existed. I’ve only missed one planned activity, which was to back up my iPad and sort though my burgeoning Gmail inbox, but even one black mark makes me feel the entire week has gone down the chute.

I paint like that too. Stroke, erase; stroke, erase… I can spend a few minutes on that, and it’s not surprising I never finish anything. The pictures I do finish have usually taken weeks or months. A few times I’ve tried speed painting tutorials but nothing changes! Before you know it, I’m back to teasing away with a tiny brush, determined that not one single pixel will be out of place, even if I have to repaint it a gazillion times.

Then I wonder why I’ve been pushed into doing this CBT thing!

It’s unsettling when you realize that if your life had a reset button, allowing you to return the start and try all over again, you would push it in a flash. This life wasn’t perfect… maybe I’d do it right next time?

No, I realize I wouldn’t. I would feel exactly the same, know exactly what I knew (no more and no less), and think and say the same things. I’d still be me.

I find myself asking questions, though. If my life had a reset button and I could go back to the very beginning… born a younger daughter living under the Rock, forced to go on fishing holidays in damp cottages; fretting over how people managed to do beautiful drawings on Etcha-Sketches… presumably everybody that I’ve even walked past would have to go all the way back to the beginning as well, just so they could accompany me. All of you out there reading this blog… you’d be whooshed back to square one and made to start all over again. If you even realized what had happened, I expect I’d be surrounded by a blogging lynch platoon right now.

Sorry.

More coffee? I’ll try and get it right this time.

PS: I must have caught something in town as I’m running a temperature and my teeth are aching. Definitely no CBT for a week! It would be interesting to know if ‘distraction’ is a symptom of this kind of bug. I should write to Apple, though — Pages is no fun to write in just now.

Trying Not to Make Such a Meal of Things

Something I wrote in an email to a friend:

I’m a bit of a procrastinator, busy or not – with me it’s always: “I’ve got to do this PROPERLY!” Prepare the ground and get my plans in order and be sure of plenty of time off… therefore nothing gets done.

For instance I might say, “I should creosote the shed” and nothing happens, because I need the whole day, and to get up early, and lots of sun and fresh air, and enough creosote, and all the brushes, and the stuff to clean them, and the jars to clean them in, and the old clothes to wear, and the bags to put down round the shed to protect everything, and water to wash down anything I splashed accidentally, and a dry brush to brush down the shed and remove all the dust and cobwebs and little spiders and bugs.

Just doesn’t happen, as the thought of all the planning and work puts me off before I even get started.

Then Mum comes along and says “I should creosote my shed,” and buys a tin of stuff, and when she finds ten minutes between ‘Flog It!’ and ‘Countdown’, she’s out there (in her good clothes, minus dry brush, jars, bags et all, with an overcast sky lowering), and she’s already halfway through covering the shed with this creosote. And finally she comes back in, and says “there, that was a messy job; the stuff was like water and sprayed all over me!” and smells of spilled petrol…. but her work is done.

Maybe the secret is to play down the preparation and just throw yourself into it!

One day, doubtless, I’ll just do the website without having planned it. Just – “eh, that annoys me!” and next thing you know, I’m up to the ears in code and graphics. That’s usually how it happens.

Must admit, Mum can get to grips with the shed but would never put up a website in a month of Sundays. She would be much more likely to chop down trees and put up entire sheds than make a website. So I guess I shouldn’t underplay my ‘getting to grips’ with stuff – it’s just different stuff. She’s left me a message asking me to look at her printer today, which has gone on strike. I sorted it out last time it did that. I was muttering to her about it not being at all intuitive – you need to consult the map to find out where all the printer options are; they’re hidden in the unlikeliest places. I wrote out a couple of sheets of instructions for her concerning the printer alone, but now maybe the problem is something different.

Well, the printer seemed to have healed itself – I tried to print out a blog post from Aw Diddums, and instead it spat out five pages of a route description. Then it started printing them out all over again, and I stopped it, and checked the job queue, and it had five or six of the same jobs waiting – and one of Aw Diddums. Managed to clear all that without deleting the printer from the computer (which I did twice before; once on Mum’s and once on my own – at least it also cleared the jobs queue while it was at it!)

So that was all right. Except that Mum said originally it was refusing to print her route description – it did two pages then stopped. I don’t know what that was about. I said either she accidentally turned the printer off, or it had to be ‘turned off then on again’ to clear the block (a corrupted file or something). I hope this isn’t some kind of printer glitch I will start seeing in my own sweet printer. I would be very disappointed.

Anyway… I must get on with my procrastinating.

Comments for this entry (during its previous life on Blogigo):

1. Pacian wrote at Apr 5, 2007 at 12:04: I’m doing my procrastinating later. Maybe tomorrow.

2. Geosomin wrote at Apr 5, 2007 at 16:21: Procrastination is something I keep meaning to try…:)

I know the feeling. I fixed up a room in December with my Dad and I’m STILL in the midst of painting it… just too daunted by the day or two of hard work after all the mudding and sanding and priming I”ve finally gotten thru. That’s my goal for this weekend – to finish it up.

Truth is if I don’t soon my husband may kill me as all the stuff from that room has been sitting in the rest of the house for 3 months. The planning thing is what gets me too…It’s just a little room…but so daunting!

3. Jo (kitschkitten) wrote at Apr 6, 2007 at 08:09: Hey Diddums,

I find the secret to overcome procrastination on one thing is to be procrastinating on another thing. Eg. today I was supposed to be fixing up a website, looking for jobs and about a dozen other things – but because they are all a bit overwhelming, I have found myself instead spring cleaning the house. I had been meaning to spring (autumn) clean the house properly for a long time though! So at least something is getting done…

4. Diddums wrote at Apr 8, 2007 at 01:39: Pacian: ha ha…

Geosomin: it’s funny how it’s hard to get oneself doing something one dreads, but then when you get started, you almost enjoy it. Or at least feel it’s not the end of the world. Well… I don’t know, I’ll have to think about that. Sometimes I get a bit lost in the middle of something I didn’t want to do anyway.

Jo: I found that too, recently – I was so busy not doing A that I suddenly found myself in the middle of doing B. And the euphoria from finally cracking B carried me into doing A quite soon after. Hoorah.

PS: I heard back from my friend, saying that in the time it took me to write all that in my blog post, I could have finished creosoting the shed! But he can’t know me that well… I would still be carefully brushing off the spiders.

Spelt Exactly How it Says on the Tin

The bathroom door was squeaking. The fact that I could hear it probably means the whole street has been annoyed by it for weeks. I realized it should be left till next morning – when oiling hinges you should make sure the place is well ventilated. Going to sleep surrounded by a spreading mist of WD-40 is probably not too bright. Yet there stood the door, squeaking at me. It would squeak if I got up in the middle of the night. It would squeak when I got up in the morning. When I finally went to bed, therefore, it was to the soothing aroma of WD-40.

Speaking of WD-40, I mentioned it a few days ago in this post. You’ll notice the hyphen is in use there as well as here. Later, when I was reading other blogs, I noticed a post by someone who wrote about WD40. No hyphen. I panicked. Which of us was right?

Off I trundled to check my can in the cupboard. No Googling for this information. The popular vote has been wrong before, and there’s no better source than the actual product. There, I could just about see the top of it, peeping over the Tupperware tub. Holding my breath, I drew it out. “Ahh – it’s WD-40. I’m right!” There’s a short list of suggested uses on the side of the tin, headed by ‘stops squeaks’. It wasn’t working in this case, as I was squeaking excitedly and doing a little dance.

Sad, I know, but for nearly 20 years it has been my job to pay attention to these details. It’s impossible to switch off my niggle radar – my whole life is a kind of busman’s holiday. I just know if they put me in a reality show to swop lives with someone else, they would be forcing me to write ‘WD40’ without hyphens. “You must learn to loosen up. It’s good for you,” they would say. Then they would catch me red-handed, in the middle of the night, correcting my blog by flashlight.