It’s 10:00pm, Friday night and I’m exhausted. I spent the morning at work, working on as-builts for a project we are finishing, then came straight to Melbourne (only from Melton) and headed to a group meeting for an university subject. After that was a lecture, which I did end up leaving early as there is a bunch of other stuff I needed to do right now. Why did I start this post mentioning all that? Despite being late and wanting to sleep (as tomorrow is an even busier day), I still got a couple small things I need to finish, including this blog.
I started the idea of this blog a few months ago but never got around to writing about it, and that action is just so applicable. But enough vagueness, let me talk about why I titled this ‘Just try to be good.’ I’m sure many of architecture students who read this blog, and others may be the same, we tend to be perfectionists. We strive for everything to be perfect, whether our designs, renders, drawings, posters, models, whatever it may be. However as we strive for perfection it wastes a lot, and I mean A LOT, of time. Nudging the drawings over on a poster, playing with 37 shades of blue for the water representation, ensuring every little thing is on the SketchUp model for the render…. I could go on.
As we strive for this perfection, several things start to happen. We neglect other drawings or renders, or even other subjects, as we are spending too much time on one thing. We forgo sleep in order to spend that time on pointless changes or adjustments. And the reason I am saying ‘we’ is I have been guilty of this in the past, in fact just yesterday I was accused of being a perfectionist and for the first time I didn’t feel proud of that.
Casey Neistat, I’m sure I’ve mentioned him on the blog before, he put a good video called Losers and Closers. In the video he discusses the idea that people who start things but don’t finish are losers, and those who do start and finish are closers. Always be closing. He mentioned about stop striving for perfection and just be good, and the act of finishing something (and it being good) at least you can then learn from it.
There are so many things I’ve started but haven’t finished because I wanted it to be perfect, or I want it perfect. However, if I take a step back and appreciate the merit of actually just finishing something, then I can move on. Prime example, my about me comic-book portfolio thingy, I’ve been toying with this idea since November last year but never got to finishing it because I needed it to be perfect. However the other weekend I told myself “I’m just going to finish it, let’s not stress about it being perfect” and believe it or not, I finished it. It wasn’t the workload holding me back, but rather my own mentality of staring at the screen for hours pretending to be working under the guise of ‘making it perfect’.
The other week I made an A3 publication for FLOG Publications titled ‘Dear Architecture School’ (which I’ll talk about in the future), but because I only had a day or two I knew it wasn’t going to be perfect, and I was fine with it. Looking back at it, with some reflection, probably could have worded some things differently, made some changes to the drawings, etc. And that’s the thing, had I not completed it I would have never learnt anything, as it wouldn’t be anything with a ‘yet another started project’. In fact I’m doing another publication for them, ‘Sorry… Not Sorry’ due on Monday and I’ve done a first draft, then proofing tomorrow then leaving it completed.
Now don’t get me wrong on this, I do like things to align (whether on a page/poster, plan, section, render, design in general) and those amazing little details you notice in buildings are just gorgeous. This is where you need to way up the worth of your time (and perhaps money) spent on doing this, and what it can achieve for you and your project. If you delay a project at work because you are spending too much time on all the details, that is a problem. Perhaps just finish the drawings which are good, then learn from them and when it comes to building and you’re out on site, then make the details. It is just so beneficial finishing things, and when I’m being a perfectionist I rarely finish.
There are zero photos in this post, except for the featured image, but that’s because I just want to finish this post. I could go through what I have on my laptop, or maybe Google the internet for some relevant images, but that’s just using time I don’t have tonight. I much rather just finish and get this blog post out to you. Instead of trying to have a perfect post, I’d rather give you a completed, and hopefully good, post. My closing point, this may sound like de-motivation or trying to make myself feel better for lower quality work but it isn’t that. This is about recognising a problem, because perfectionism can be a problem, and trying to change myself for the better. Would you rather spend 8 weeks striving for a perfect project, or 6 weeks on a good project but you now have 2 weeks worth of time to spend on other things?