Little_Mavis' rants and musings


Procrastination and Perfectionism

I set up this blog ages ago, but then ignored it. I regularly find things I want to share my opinion on (being a very opinionated sort of person) but have not had the oomph to do so. I wondered what I should write about. Should I make it about politics ( something I am an expert on ( or try to be funny ( ? I the end I realised that I should just be me and start, I will find out what direction it takes as I go along. I’m sure you will all tell me if it’s boring.

A Twitter friend (Snowgirl) announced she had just registered a blog and it pricked my conscience. I have no excuse for not using this. I fear my main reason for not doing so is my innate perfectionism. I think this may have caused problems throughout my life. I don’t really want to post this until it is “just right” and that may take ages. I don’t mind constructive criticism but I am easily upset by criticism for something I feel is one of my strengths.

I like to think I write reasonably well, I take time to select the correct words to say exactly what I want to say, so if I post this, no, make that when I post this, I will post it warts and all without taking hours to check through and make sure there isn’t a misplaced apostrophe or a mixture of “&” and “and”. Yes, I know there are those of you who will pounce on such shortcomings but I’m doing this partly as therapy so I don’t care. 

So, how has perfectionism hindered me? Well, one of the main problems I had with my teaching job was simply finding the time to do everything I needed to do. I will try to post on this later (without too much whining) to explain why this is a real problem but for now, do me a favour and take it as read.

I found making handouts for students was taking me ages.

  • I made sure it was in a font that was easy to read for all students (even dyslexics – Tahoma is good)
  • I didn’t put too much text to read (these were students who had done poorly at school before they had come to college and were completing courses that were the equivalent of the more successful children do in year 9)
  • I included suitable images to make the handout seem friendlier
  • I included all important information on one page (they got bored if they had to read more)

That was for the students, I also needed  to do some things for me.

  • Consistent layout
  • Standardised names
  • Stored in sensible places

This all took time. Especially as I was creating new resources for stuff I hadn’t taught before and I was the only one teaching this so there was no-one to share the workload. I was told I wasted too much time on this, other teachers seemed happy with handouts that were old, but approximately right, had errors and frankly, to me, looked a bit of a mess. I’m beginning to realise that this was a necessary survival mechanism, but I can’t do that. I can’t start on tidying the shelves on the landing because the storage boxes are the wrong colour and don’t match.

Perfectionism can be an asset, and wanting things to be done right must be a good thing, but not if it stops you coping or even doing anything at all.

I’m going to have to learn (even at my advanced age) to learn to make do and accept things that are OK rather than right (well, sometimes anyway)

This is my first step. Once I have run this through the spellchecker it is going to be posted, warts and all. Please don’t point out errors; you may set me back weeks.