There is a book called "How to finish: Give yourself the gift of done," by Jon Acuff.
It's a great read, and it has tons of research on what works for finishing your projects.
He did a 30-day challenge on his Facebook page, in which the people who participated had to choose 1 goal to complete in a month.
On day 9 he told the participants to cut the goal in half, and the study showed that they increased productivity by 65%.
The less people aimed for perfect, the more productive they became. We tend to set these big, lofty goals, and we don't take into consideration how long it's actually going to take us to accomplish them. For example: if the goal was to lose 10 lbs. in 30 days, and on day 9 they had already lost 4 lbs, they were then more motivated to surpass their goal. It's a kinder way of celebrating your progress instead of beating yourself up for not meeting the target...
Do you want to guess when did most people quit the challenge?
"On the second day," you heard that right. As soon as they realized that they had missed the first day because they didn't have time to open the email, they felt left behind, and quit because they weren't able to do the challenge perfectly.
People don't care for progress, they want to achieve the out-of-reach, bigger-than-life goals, and they want to achieve them perfectly, that's why 92% of people will have forgotten their New Year's goals by February.
I call that type of sabotage, "The French Fry effect." Have you suffered from it? Have you started a diet on Monday, ate perfectly balanced that day, then ate a french fry on Tuesday from one of your colleagues' takeout, and suddenly think that the diet has been ruined! Why bother? You tell yourself, you might as well eat the whole bag, and while you're at it, you tell your other friend to pass the pizza!
You end up feeling terrible, eating comfort food like ice cream or chocolate, you say more mental insults to yourself, and then swear to begin again Next Monday!!!
But then "Next Monday" comes around, and you'll be more likely to fail because you have evidence that will support that you are a quitter.
Giving up on our goals is a negative habit that we can acquire, and that is very difficult to get rid of.
Whenever we fall from our goal wagon, we have to jump right back in, no hesitations, no beating yourself up, no excuses.
A great exercise that we can do is to track our progress. We mark an "X" each day that we've worked towards our goal, even if we only worked for 5 minutes. When we see a long chain of "X's" being formed, we don't want to break a streak, and we're more likely to stick with it.
Do you think that the opposite of perfectionism is failure?
Wrong! The opposite of perfect is finished!
Move forward imperfectly.
An example of someone who is highly prolific and an amazing creator is Leonie Dawson. Her products are out in the world, even though they're filled with watercolor messes and little hands. In her ebook "How to ride a wild donkey," she says that once an idea falls into your paddock, it's your responsibility to work with it until it's done and you can release it out into the world. She doesn't say that you should be carrying lots of ideas in different bags, backpacks, and paddocks, in other words, multitasking. She says, "Carry one idea until completion. Be ok with imperfection". And, she has thousands of raving fans that love her laid-back, hippy but smart style, and... she's a self-made millionaire, so her system works!
Embracing imperfection and moving forward anyway, is the road to success.