Beat Perfectionism by Scheduling Your Unfinished Draft One Week From Today4 min read

Photo by Victoria Heath on Unsplash

Okay, I’ve got to be honest with you.

I’m the Anti-Perfectionist. Yeah, capitalized. I don’t worry about perfection, I don’t strive for it.

I’m just having fun, writing my ideas into existence, and then clicking on the publish button. That’s about it.

But I do have to tell you that my girlfriend, on the other hand, is the exact opposite.

It takes here anywhere between 2 to 4 weeks to write an article. She does her research, writes a bit, does more research, then rewrites the bit she wrote before, and then she deletes everything and starts from scratch.

Her workflow mentally exhausts me.

So, I thought about a solution to help her beat perfectionism, and I came up with a simple strategy: she has to schedule her draft for publication one week after she writes the headline.

This idea came to me from one of my stories, in which a painter works on a series of artworks that are just titles scribbled on empty canvases. The audience has to imagine the paintings into existence.

The same principle applies.

You write your headline and then schedule your article for publication exactly one week later.

You have one week to write, edit, and polish that article. Either way, whether you think your article is perfect or not, it goes live. There’s nothing you can do. That’s the rule of the game.

You have a sort-of deadline. On steroids. And you are facing the kind of humiliation that doesn’t even compare to your article not being properly proofread.

Schedule Your Post One Week From Today

If you’re writing a blog post, just write the headline, maybe a paragraph or two, and then schedule it to go live one week from now.

You can do whatever you want with your article during that week, including rewriting the damn thing, changing the headline, the introduction, deleting paragraphs, anything at all.

You can’t, however, reschedule your article.

That’s it.

If you want to get rid of perfectionism, you’ve got to be desperate. There’s got to be something at stake.

This Strategy Also Works With Procrastination

Your brain now knows that you have an article scheduled to go live. You will either add to it or your readers will have to imagine the article into existence because you have nothing but a headline and a blank page.

Yes, the professional procrastinator will postpone until the last minute, but they will start punching those keys before the article goes live. There’s no other way.

Inspiration is a cruel mistress, but desperation is the closest thing to a best friend a procrastinator can have.

Playing a Game of Fears

Both the procrastinator and the perfectionist are afraid. They’re afraid of failure, they’re afraid of negative feedback, they’re afraid of wasting their time, they’re afraid of a lot of things…

But the thing about fear is that it can be used against itself.

What’s worse for a perfectionist? To publish a less-than-perfect article or to publish a headline and a blank page? Or half a paragraph?

When you play this game of fears, you are effectively choosing the least appealing option as a motivator.

Because I’m the world’s worst boyfriend™, I actually told my girlfriend her next article will go live in 24 hours, whether she had a finished blog post or not. 

Of course, she only started writing five hours before the post was about to go live, but she did have a complete blog post by the time the article was scheduled to go live.

Don’t give in to your brain’s infinite capacity for excuses. Don’t give in to your fears, but rather leverage them to encourage you to sit at your desk and do the work.

Remember, you can only call yourself a blogger if you have the guts to click on the publish button.

Cristian Mihai

Became Internet famous by the age of 23. Never recovered. I write short author bios all over the web. I’m an acquired taste. Don’t like me? Acquire some taste.

13 thoughts on “Beat Perfectionism by Scheduling Your Unfinished Draft One Week From Today4 min read

  1. Blogging is a curious endeavor. Some people have blogs that cover solid subjects like cooking, gardening, or child-rearing. My blog is more of a place to pour my thoughts out for others to read. Some posts I think are, well, ok, not great, but pretty good, and people are all over them. others I think are Pulitzer quality, and they get…not a single view. But, adulation or being ignored is ok by me, because I learn from both, as I should. I write because I love to write, and if I write enough, and work hard at it I will get better.

    Perfectionism is not a problem with me but stimulating the few, the proud, who take the time to read my work is what is important to me. Therefore, I keep on punching the damn keys. Write on everyone.

  2. Love it. Deadlines create urgency, and because you then focus diligently, you compress and pressurize things into being. So, deadlines creates urgency, and urgency makes results. Creating is formless. Making is giving form to the formless.

    Like the word Architecture broken into its Classical Greek roots. Arche (with the inflection) and Techne. Arche is formless, the first spark. Inception. Arche is creating from scratch (research or no). Techne is the making and putting together of the idea, giving form to the formless. So, in the one word Architecture there is an allusion to the whole creative process.

    Deadlines createS urgency, purpose, dials into direction. Urgency makes results. I love the deceptive simplicity of starting in on a blog and then setting the timer. It basically comes out of the oven… done, or call out for dinner so to speak.

  3. Clears throat 😁

    I’m a perfectionist. I worry about perfection. And I strive for it.

    Oh! Lest I forget, I’m the professional procrastinator, too. 😁

    Maybe I’ll make friends with desperation. (God help me).

    I’ll try your one-week suggestion.

    I love how you encourage your girlfriend. So kind of you. Well done.

  4. Weirdly, I actually like this idea. I often write better under pressure too (it feels like) because in my mind it becomes a “do or die” scenario (which is part of the perfectionism: it HAS to be done) and then inspiration hits out of necessity.

  5. I like this game. I am both a perfectionist AND a procrastinator. What a horrible combination! I have three deadlines a week. I can tell the ones I didn’t work on too much. But this game DOES help to keep me writing on ahead. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Great idea! I sort of do this to myself by having the articles written on the calendar. If it’s on the calendar, then I guess I’m going to write it.

  7. For this procrastinating perfectionist, merely reading this article and thinking about doing this brought my anxiety level to an all-time high! I know this is a good idea and I know I need to implement it but I may need to up my meds!! 😉 😉

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