Return to site

On Perfection and Productivity

I was having brunch with one of my best friends when the topic of productivity came up. She quipped that my anxiety manifests itself in that I want to do everything and her's in that she wants to do nothing. While, at first, I agreed and laughed, I couldn't help but have her words stuck in my head over the next few weeks. In her point of view, doing everything was better than doing nothing.

Now, I definitely have gone through this phase (okay, phases) where I convinced myself that constantly being busy was driving me closer to my goals. In actuality, it often wore me down and stressed me out. All of my projects were haphazardly "finished" and I never felt a sense of true creativity as an artist when I tackled multiple things head on. I realized that I tend to do this because I convince myself that doing "nothing" does not contribute to my goals. I never even considered there was a happy medium between these two extremes.

Looking back at my summer, there were so many projects that I started and never finished. I was going to re-read all of my acting books...HA! I had a precarious stack on my nightstand, just begging me to grab Stanislavsky or Suzuki off the top. Although I did end up reading some of the books, the majority are still on my nightstand. I also started several social justice projects and ideas for a web series. Even looking at that previous sentence made me stressed out.

At first, I felt incredibly guilty for stopping these projects. How dare I abandon these productive tasks that will lead me closer to my hopes and dreams!? Well, I didn't abandon them. Not really. Instead, I set them aside for later. (*cue gasping from all of my close friends*) What does that mean? These projects are in the back of my head and written in my planner, waiting patiently for me to come back to them. And I will. But I am also going to take my time; I care a lot about these projects and want them to come out well so I am willing to invest in them and myself in order to reach that outcome.

My friend, the great Dani Baum of 660 Studios said something that finally spurred me writing this post: "Don't let perfection be the enemy of good." (Actually, I just googled it and it is a variation of Voltaire, but Dani is just as great.) Since perfection is unattainable (as is being in multiple places at once), trying to reach it will just cycle back in failure.

I used to think that taking a vacation (or even a nap) would mean missing out on what could be the greatest audition and subsequent role ever. Well, guess what? Casting directors don't hold auditions on major holidays because they're people, too! Currently, I am in the middle of nowhere (aka upstate New York) doing farm work, making cool art, and seeing other artists make cool art. And I'm not worried. I know I'm where I'm supposed to be.