I don’t usually suffer from perfectionism. Indeed, one of the reasons I love writing for newspapers or online is that the turn-around time is so fast that perfectionism doesn’t come into it. When you’ve got 2 months to write a magazine feature, I find, the editing process takes 2 months. When you have 20 minutes to crank out a blog post, you’ll take 20 minutes. The quality is different, but not by that order of magnitude.
Yet, recently, when it comes to running, I’d been bumping up against a form of perfectionism. Life is particularly busy at the moment, between cranking out chapters of the new book (possible working titles: For What It’s Worth: How to Buy Happiness, or maybe Plenty: How to Buy Happiness), starting my BNET column, supporting 168 Hours, etc. Winter always adds in the joys of snow and sick kids and, in a not unanticipated result, sick me. My choir has three concerts in the next two months. I know better than to say “I don’t have time to run,” so instead, I’ll just say that running outside in the cold for 5 miles every day isn’t a priority for me right now. So I thought about just writing off the next month or two.
Then I realized that I was framing this the wrong way. I run because I need the exercise — for health and for my sanity. But running outside for 5 miles isn’t the only way to get some of the benefits of exercise. I work at home and my apartment building has a gym. I hate treadmill running, but if I can’t run outside for 5 miles, it’s the rare day that I can’t throw on my gym clothes, hop on the elevator, and get down to the gym for 20 minutes. Because the treadmill is so boring, I run as fast as possible for those 20 minutes. Then I race back up and get back to whatever I was doing.
Net result? I’m not accumulating the miles. But I am getting faster. And while running for 20 minutes is not as good as running for 50, it’s certainly better than running for 0. Sometimes the perfect can be the enemy of the good enough. Better to settle for good enough than to never get started.
In other news:
- Liz Danforth does an interesting write-up of what she discovered by logging her time. She works part-time in a library, and mentioned that she heard about the book when another library patron started gushing about it. So thank you, anonymous library patron!
- I spoke at the New York Chapter of the National Association of Professional Organizers on Monday of last week. The feedback from the 41 people who turned in forms? 38 found me interesting, 2 somewhat, and 1 “no.” Let me know if your organization needs a speaker that 90% of the attendees will find interesting…