I am a perfectionist. Unless I know that my course of action will lead to the best results, I find it nigh on impossible to start. My mind will not get past the multitude of possible options I could take and I’m stuck in a state of permanent stillness.

The best way I can describe it, is that it is like I’m trying to consider all my options at the same time but can’t decide which one to choose. It is as though I am gridlocked and my mind becomes overloaded which usually leads to me doing nothing productive.

What I have to try and do then, is push myself to just start working and keep going until my mind is focused enough to keep going and get it done. As long as I have something down, I can then develop it further.

I do however sometimes find the gridlock can re-enter my mind if I feel my progress is wrong and not going to lead to perfection. If this happens then it is another job of trying to force my focus and continue working.

Related to my perfectionist trait is my inability to sometimes focus on a specific project or specific idea I’ve had. I get lots of ideas some of them a lot better than others, and again because I wish to produce the best work possible I sometimes cannot decide which one I should focus on more as I can’t decide which one will produce the best outcome. Or on the very rare occasions I think they will all produce very good ideas and then I can’t decide which one to focus on first.

My desire for perfection and my inability to focus as one of the main reasons why I rarely finish any of the projects I start. If it looks as though I cannot complete it to the level I want, I more often than not feel dejected and essentially give up on it and then feel less and less motivated to work spiral further into the abyss until one day I find myself miraculously washed ashore and once more seeking to complete the delayed project. If the cycle occurs too many times I often just start a new project.

To help me with focusing my mind just so I can work I have employed a few aids. The most effective I have found is music, if I find the right piece of music that can keep me going until the work is complete. Usually the piece has to embody the emotions and ideas I want to convey in my writing, this way I feel a lot more motivated to write as I can more accurately picture the events in my mind.

After music I have found coffee to be a great help as it stimulates my brain and gives me energy to work. Coupling that with music usually produces some very good results. I have been using the combination of these two for the last few months and I produced several pieces of work which is a lot better than I have done for a long time so it seems to be working. I’m not sure if it’s a very healthy way of working but for now it is working and I’ll stick to that.

There are however rare moments when something just clicks and I write loads without any outside help, but is this seems to be quite a rare occurrence and I’m not sure what instigates these occurrences I cannot rely on them, however it is nice when they do occur.

I aim to break the cycle and actually be a whole lot more productive this year, so bring on the music and coffee.

Originally published at my other blog, on May 16, 2015.

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