Like a lot of folks with ADHD, I am significantly challenged with perfectionism. If I am not careful, I will take “forever” to finish something (or even to start something), because I think it needs to be done to a higher standard than is actually appropriate — given its relative importance in my life.
Sometimes I remember my perfectionistic tendency and tell myself, “I’m going to make a special effort to knock this next task out quickly, because it clearly only needs to be good enough.”
But at some later point, I realize I have invested much more time and effort in the task than is really appropriate, and I’m still not finished. (ADHD “Time Blindness,” including the inability to adequately estimate how long a task may take, can be a major compounding factor here, but I’ll address Time Blindness another time.)
In some situations, the old adage, “Any task worth doing is worth doing well,” may be very appropriate and helpful. We perfectionists, however, can often benefit from applying an interesting variation: “Any task worth doing is worth doing poorly.”Learning to do something to a standard of “good enough” can be difficult for the perfectionist but can be invaluable for bringing one’s life into alignment with one’s priorities.
Learning to apply a “good enough” standard often requires repeated practice. One place I have found that works surprisingly well for practicing this standard is raking leaves. I have even found that, when raking, I can actually use my perfectionism to reduce my perfectionism. Performing “perfectly” to my new “good enough” standard now involves being sure to miss a few leaves.
While a part of me is still tempted to reach my rake out to clean up those missed leaves, a growing part of me takes satisfaction in learning to let go of, and even laugh at, my old perfectionism in at least this leaf raking task, and increasingly in other tasks as well.
If perfectionism is one of your challenges, you might consider trying something similar to what I’m doing. I have found it helpful to sometimes think of it as being “perfectly imperfect.” Good luck with whatever practice works for you!