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Today, a moment of self-reflection…

Reading The Happiness Project has really caused me to stop and think about my everyday life and how I go about it.

One realization I’ve made as a result is the importance of the phrase “strive for progress, not perfection.”

Strive for Progress, Not Perfect  The Adventures of Z and K

As the obsessive planner, detail oriented, over-achiever that I am I constantly have a never-ending to-do list running through my mind. In some ways this is a good thing: I find a sense of satisfaction in getting things done and crossing things off said list.

On the other hand, the pressure that I put on myself to get everything done can be downright exhausting. Not only do I want to be as productive as possible, but I want everything to be done perfectly. I’m constantly striving for that “A+.”

K's AP Biology Class, 2002

(as an honors/AP student with SATs and college applications, striving A+’s were a way of life)

Whether it’s household chores, cooking and baking, or wedding planning, I want things to be done and I want them done right.

However I’m learning to accept that sometimes operating at a “B” is OK….maaaaybe even a C (maybe). By adopting this concept I can free myself from the self-imposed pressures and make time for other things.

An example:

Take the commonly seen to-do list item of “clean the house.” In MY world, in order to consider this 100% accomplished it would involve:Casa de Z & K

  • cleaning the bathrooms (toilets, sinks, mirrors, tubs)
  • floors (sweeping/vacuuming + swiffering)
  • vacuuming carpets
  • wiping off/organizing office desks
  • cleaning the kitchen (counters, scrub sink, wipe down fridge, clean trashcans, wash sponges)
  • water plants
  • take out trash and recycling

By taking time to do ALL of that, next thing I know half the day has passed and there’s still so much more I wanted to get done!

So maybe instead of tackling ALL of that I can wipe down the kitchen counters, sweep the first floor of the house and consider that enough for one day. I can then use the extra time I have to focus on other to-do list items or maybe even simply “me time” (gasp! what a concept!…that’s a subject for a whole other post).

Long story short: progress….not perfection. Learn it, live it, love it.

I want to know…

Are you someone who makes to-do lists?

How do you go about balancing productivity and relaxation on your days off?

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