3 min read

"Perfectionism is a Function of Shame"

A coworker of mine recently shared a quote from Brene Brown's book, "Atlas of the Heart":

...perfectionism is a function of shame.

This is one of those statements that really resonated with me, so I quickly jotted it down. I haven't read the book it comes from, so I didn't get to see how the author expounded upon it, but I had a few ideas of how it relates to the topic of productivity.

According to dictionary.com, shame is "the painful feeling arising from the consciousness of something dishonorable, improper, ridiculous, etc., done by oneself or another". When we focus on being perfect, and our efforts are less than perfect (which they pretty much always are), we feel a sense of shame at not being good enough. This prevents us from wanting to try the thing again because it's now tied to a painful feeling.

Perfectionism strikes in all aspects of life, and productivity is no exception. We may work hard all day long, but more often than not there's still some items left on our to do list. We feel shame at not being able to complete everything, and it makes it hard to want to do it all again the next day.

One thing that has helped me combat perfectionism in productivity is setting a highlight each day, as suggested in the book "Make Time" by Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky. You choose one thing you're going to focus on getting done that day (usually the most important thing on your list), and everything else you get done is basically a bonus. Completing your highlight will give you that sense of accomplishment even if you don't completely clear your to do list.

Don't let shame be the driving force in your life. Skills are learned through consistent, incremental practice, and productivity is no different. Don't get down on yourself if you haven't yet met your goals. Just focus on doing a little bit better each day, and eventually you'll get there.

What I'm Reading / Watching / Listening to:

Video: Stretch by Scott Sonenshein - A Visual Summary
This video talked about how to approach resource usage, and how using what you already have is far better than constantly acquiring more. I love figuring out ways to use apps and tools beyond their original intended use. It's part of what makes productivity fun for me, and it allows me to get more bang for my buck, so to speak. It also helps me to keep the number of tools in my productivity system to a minimum (something I talked about in last week's newsletter).

Video: Zettelkasten Method Explained: A Beginner's Guide
The word Zettelkasten (German for "slip box") has become synonymous with a method of note taking that utilizes cards containing a single note or idea each, which are then stored in boxes and linked together via uniquely assigned IDs. The system was originally conceived as an analog system, but has transferred to digital tools as it's so much easier to link, store, and search notes in a digital format. I've recently been utilizing a Zettelkasten ID system to link my typed notes in Obsidian to my handwritten ones in GoodNotes (a more detailed explanation of which I'll be providing in a future post).

What's New on CreaDev Labs:

What I Like About Spark Mail
A list of my favorite features of my email app of choice, Spark Mail.

Summary of Atomic Habits: How Your Habits Shape Your Identity (and Vice Versa)
A Sketchnoted summary of the second chapter of the book Atomic Habits by James Clear

Questions or comments? Please email me at brennan@creadevlabs.com

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