{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "How do you turn off perfectionism? I always get stuck at the end of a project because it’s never “perfect.” Getting over that final hump from “must be perfect” to “good enough” for government work is tough. Looking for strategies to help me get things finished and move on.", "post_id": "5f57c4c5a3ed0d0022d70a8e", "reply_count": 9, "vote_count": 4, "bowl_id": "5e2f15782e2862001ad0e094", "bowl_name": "Lawyers with ADHD" }

How do you turn off perfectionism? I always get stuck at the end of a project because it’s never “perfect.” Getting over that final hump from “must be perfect” to “good enough” for government work is tough. Looking for strategies to help me get things finished and move on.

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I struggle with this a lot. echoing the first response from another angle, when you recognize that perfectionism is rooted in anxiety, you also can realize that as you gain experience and confidence you'll be better at recognizing what imperfections are worth your time and client money to fix, and what is too trivial to keep you this side of the point of negative returns. it is very hard for me to let things go, and the ensuing distraction can also be a drag on my ability to focus on what does matter even when I consciously decide to leave it alone, but I've found that it helps to very consciously acknowledge the decision to yourself - OK, this email could be worded slightly more clearly, could be slightly shorter, could have avoided using the same word twice, could have wished your recipient health and safety in less formulaic language - but pretend your bill was very specific about how every minute of your time was used, and ask how you would defend this three line email about something you needed 90 seconds to look up taking anything more than a 0.1 increment on your time sheet? that empathy with the customer usually works to keep my perfectionism in check.

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Oh man, that bit about taking more than 0.1 to write a 3 line email hits home. It’s definitely rooted in anxiety, which manifests as a total inability to let small things go.

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For me the perfectionism usually comes from anxiety. With all the mistakes my adhd has caused in the past, I get anxious about getting things right. Sometimes this helps me do good work, but sometimes the anxiety takes over and I just spin my wheels. One thing that helps me is to have a checklist for a project. If you’re writing a brief, it might be a list of grammar or formatting mistakes to look for. If you’re doing a transactional project, it might be a spreadsheet with the terms you know you need to check. I usually end up creating some form of a checklist whenever I get the sense my anxiety is going to cause me to take way too long. With the checklist, I run through it and know that I did what I intended to do, and it helps me let go of any other perfectionism I could focus on.

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YMMV. But for my brain I need games and rules. My brain would gladly spend 3 hrs on a 0.1 task. To counter that, I start with my time budget I can spend on a task. Then I create and plugin my outline (regardless if it’s a motion, memo, or other task) putting coherent template like (but not to my standard) work product on the page. I’ve found this method leaves me with passable work at 80% of my budget, and 20% left to tinker. If it’s not important, I can splurge that 20% there and then, and once the time is up, then it’s “chefs, put your knives down and step away from the plates.” If it’s something important or stylistic (like a non-routine motion), I will spend that 20% over more than 1 day, as my brain will be churning on styles, themes, alliteration, etc in the background as I work on other tasks. I’ll jot down (but not bill) on a Post-It any real clever ideas I get (has to be a Post-It because it’s physically small and finite that you can’t spend more than 30 seconds with). At that point I need to decide what direction I’m going. I re-write the intro to fit that direction, stop, and move to the body to also make it stylistically fit and add my flair, and jazz up my conclusion.

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I love this

I trick myself into believing that what I am only completing the "near final" version and that there will be another phase for perfecting the product. I have also realized that the last push to perfection can either take 47 hours if I do it myself, or it can take 25 minutes if I bounce it to someone else and use that person's comments to expedite the perfectionation.

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That’s what I ended up doing with this motion that I was procrastinating on last night. I was terribly unhappy with the work product, but that’s partly because I’m unhappy with the arguments we’re making. Ended up bouncing it to the partner in what I would consider a “rough” state. Hopefully it comes back with comments that will make it better.

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“Done is better than perfect” is one of my mantras. I repeat it to myself often, especially towards the end of my drafting and before flipping a draft to someone else to review

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