Writing a book while being a perfectionist

I’m learning a lot about myself through this book-writing process.

I’ve said often that I’m a recovering perfectionist and now I’m learning that when I’m under pressure, Perfectionism wants to rear her head.

An example…

When I thought about what I wanted to include in this book, I thought about who my reader might be. Someone who is likely overwhelmed due to disorganisation.

Such a person is not going to want to pore through every single thing I know about organising.

Bear in mind, I could quite easily write a short book about paper, another about email, etc.

So I purposed to keep it short and to the point.

I wrote the book and all was well.

Now in the reviewing process, I find myself wanting to add reams and reams more and I’ve had to reel in that perfectionistic streak and keep to my original purpose.

Just thought you’d like to know that I go through the same things you do.

Living an intentional life takes work. Hard work.

I’ve got some good momentum going now and I think it’ll only take another 4 – 6 hours before I am print-ready πŸ™‚

I could be wrong but I’m not going to put myself under pressure as it’s all self-induced πŸ™‚


Although it would be really nice to have this whole thing off my to-do list before the end of the year, right?!

Are you a perfectionist?

Do you still think it’s a good thing to be one?

Which of your goals do you want to cross off your 2011 to-do list?

PS Do you need help?

Relieve your scrapbooking guilt

I see mothers all over the internet feeling guilty about how they’re always behind with their kids’ scrapbooks.

A large part of that reason is that all our expectations are too high.

If you are a scrapbooker, why do you do scrap? (is that the correct word?)

Is it to preserve a memory?

If that’s true, then relax your standards somewhat and just get the memories down.

If it’s to foster your creativity, then by all means get fancy but remember the reason you got into it in the first place.

I am not a scrapbooker by any means (I lack patience and “fiddliness”) but I do want to preserve some memories.

One of the things on my 37 things list is to do two crafty/creative projects a month.

I’ve done a couple of projects and thought I’d show you my first attempt – a pseudo-scrapbook :

For those of you who are TRULY crafty, don’t laugh – this is HUGE for me.

  • I bought a brag book.
  • I used some of the party printables for the front and back covers.
  • Printed TONS of pics from the party.
  • Arranged them in an order that made me happy.
  • Put in some of the leftover cupcake toppers and tented food tags.
  • Realised I still had space for about 6 pics.
  • Went back to the photo shop to print additional pics.
  • Rearranged a little bit more.
  • Called it a day.

Am VERY happy with the results.

I showed the people at work and (just goes to show what kind of people I work with) they were all SO enthusiastic and encouraging about my efforts that 3 of them want me to do their kids’ party.

Um, no thanks πŸ™‚

If you’re stuck in scrapbooking guilt, just go get some brag book, put your pics in, journal on the opposite side of the book and call it a day.

I guarantee you’ll feel so much better.

What do you think of my little project?


PS would you like me to show you some more of my very low-maintenance attempts at making cute things?



Stress-free entertaining

Remember my Reluctant Entertainer post?

Well, I just decided that, as Sandy said, if I figure out my style and go with that, I should be fine.

I do set a beautiful table (there’s something so satisfying about the order of sequence of cutlery, plates and glasses) and I also love mixing and matching different placemats, plates and serviettes so every time the table looks slightly different.

But I’m not the best cook in the world.

The difference is that now I’ve embraced that as part of my style πŸ™‚

So my style is casual (what else can it be with twins running around?!) and I’m of the opinion that since no-one is coming over for my cooking, I might as well relax about it.

And I have.

On Thursday a friend emailed me and asked if we were doing anything the following evening as her husband was up in Jhb and he’d love to see us.

Well, these are 3 am friends and we would ALWAYS love to see them (or even just one of them).

I knew I didn’t have time to even shop let alone cook but we made the plan.

And do you know what?

We still had a wonderful time fellowshipping, even over Debonairs pizza and milk tart πŸ™‚

My challenge to you is this –

Think about someone, anyone, you haven’t seen for awhile and invite them over, even if just for coffee and biscuits (cookies).

Are you up for the challenge?

Who will you invite and by when?

(I’m a coach; I can’t resist getting specific!)

Are you a perfectionist?

If you’ve ever been for a job interview (and who hasn’t?!), you’ll be well aware of that awful question: what are your strengths and weaknesses?

At that point you want to position yourself in the best possible light so you frantically scramble and try to think of a weakness that’s not too bad.

I’ll confess that years ago when I used to go for job interviews I used to answer that my strength and weakness was that I was a perfectionist.

Nowadays, I would bite my tongue before admitting that.

Yes, I’m a recovering perfectionist but it’s definitely not something I’m in the least bit proud of.

You see, I think perfectionism robs you of living a full and happy life.

Are you a perfectionist?

β€œPerfectionism is not a quest for the best. It is a pursuit of the worst in ourselves, the part that tells us that nothing we do will ever be good enough – that we should try again.”

Julia Cameron

You may be a perfectionist if:

  1. you think you’re the only person who can do something exactly right
  2. you don’t even bother to do something unless you can do it 100% perfectly
  3. you never ask for help as you see it as a sign of weakness
  4. you can’t stand doing anything badly or failing at anything
  5. you tend to notice others’ mistakes

Do you see what I mean?

If you’re constantly striving for the elusive perfection, you’re never going to be happy to just be.

Your relationships will suffer and so will your productivity.

Perfectionism has also been related to illnesses such as eating disorders, anxiety, depression and a host of relationship and emotional problems.

As I said, I used to be a fully-fledged perfectionist until I wised up.

I had to learn to let go a little, lower my impossible standards and change my language.

Next time I’ll give you some more tips on overcoming perfectionism.

But for now, tell me:

Are you a perfectionist? Is it something you’re proud of or have you already started seeing the limitations thereof?

If you’d like one-on-one help from a recovering perfectionist, be brave and contact me today.

Are you a Reluctant Entertainer?

I stumbled upon the Reluctant Entertainer blog and started reading her posts on perfectionism and entertaining.

I think so many of us women aspire to be Martha Stewart with perfect everything that when we fall short, we feel inadequate.

I liked what I saw on the blog and so I ordered the book.

It is a beautiful, hardcover book with gorgeous, glossy pages.

Sheer pleasure for a tactile girl like me!

I’m also very visual and I loved looking at all the photos of food and of easy ideas to decorate your table.

Basically, I’m terrible at reviewing books because I take no notes but I have put some stick-e-tags to mark off the things that spoke to me.

Here they are:

“get out of the jail cell of perfectionism by asking yourself, “am I having people into my home to impress them or to bless them?”

(Like Sandy, I also believe perfectionism is a jail cell that will keep you in bondage)

“Authenticity is honest and doesn’t try to needlessly impress others. And the great thing about being authentic is that it attracts other authentic people – those who are soulful and who make the greatest friends”

(authenticity is one of my highest values)

Some of my take aways:

I love how she says that when you apologise profusely for things (food not being perfect, this not good/ that not good, etc.) you make your guests feel uncomfortable. I will stop doing this immediately πŸ™‚

I also love how she tells people to figure out your style. If you’re a relaxing brunch type of gal, go with it. It doesn’t all have to be supper! Who knew?

We used to have people over for suppers in the pre-twins days and now I honour their sleep (after waiting for it so long!!!) so we don’t have people over in the evenings. I’m now a lunch-time person. But I’ve been freed to have people over for tea and muffins and not feel guilty about it.

Sandy says, “true hospitality is not about being perfect, cooking a fancy meal or spending a lot of money. Rather, it’s about an open door and an open heart.”

Amen to that!

Are you a reluctant entertainer who is trapped in perfectionism?

Do you know your entertaining style?

P.S. If you related to anything I said, either get the book or subscribe to her blog (there is so much insight in the comments too).

P.P.S. I’m not being paid to write this review. She doesn’t even know I exist πŸ™‚

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