It was exactly five months ago today that I started writing my book, Toilet Paper Math. It’s been a journey. I can see why people will pay upwards of $ 20,000 to have a book created and published for them. It’s a lot of work.
Not only is it a lot of work, but I had a lot of people working on it with me. I had a cover designer, editor, proofreader, and reviewers. I also had somebody write the forward. It took me until the book was almost done before I figured out who I wanted to write the forward. That was just completed this week. Then, this weekend I spent over eight hours just fixing typos, formatting errors, and adding the reviews and forward.
The book had already been laid out, but it was not 100% complete. All the final tweaking took a lot of work.
When working on any project one of the key questions you have to ask yourself is, “When is it done?” I want to talk to you about the difference between procrastination vs. perfectionism.
When we’re looking at projects or when we’re looking at anything that we do, we have three core aspects. We have the big overall picture, the job, and then we have projects inside of that job. And then we have tasks to get each one of those projects done. I want to break it down from procrastination vs. perfectionism, to get it done.
With a job…
Procrastination says, “Eh, I got time. It’s not due for a while.”
Well, it took me five months to get the book done. If I would have procrastinated, it probably wouldn’t be done right now.
Perfectionism says, “I need to create a Gantt chart and learn to use some project management software so I can get all of this stuff organized.”
Git ‘Er Done: You don’t need that. You need a piece of paper and a pen. You just need to figure out the basic part. Block out each part of the project that you need to do. You can’t write chapter two until you write chapter one. A leads to B, B leads to C and so on. You need to figure out all the moving parts of the job and lay those out in order so that you know when you have to get to the next step.
When you look at it from a project standpoint…
Procrastination says, “Oh, I’m not sure what to do first. Do I need to create an outline?
What about a cover? Do I know the title of the book? If I don’t have a title of the book, I really can’t write it.”
And here’s the bottom line.
Perfectionism says, “I need to tweak everything. I need to have the cover done and then the outline finished, along with everything else.”
Git ‘Er Done: You don’t. Just start working on it. You can always tweak it and make it better. Just do it. In the case of the book, I wrote it, I read it, I updated it, I ran it by a second set of eyes, and then I tweaked it again. I would get each chapter done as if it was a project.
Even the book cover was a project. I came up with a title and then I started playing around with some ideas and then I sent it to a designer and she sent me version A , then B, and then C and I kept taking those different designs and putting it out on the internet and letting people look at it and vote on them until I finally came up with the right book cover. Just keep working on it step by step.
And then finally let’s break it down to the task.Tasks are something that we tend to do day-to-day.
Procrastination says, “Squirrel. I need to look at my email. I’ve got to check Facebook. Oh, I can get this done. Wait, I can’t do my thing because I’ve got other projects to do.”
Perfectionism says, “Maybe I could try another font or another image or something better. There’s got to be a better way of doing this.”
Git ‘Er Done: The bottom line is, build the template that you want to use and then start throwing things into it. The template of the chapters basically broke it down step by step. There’s a template that I have that’s built around laying out each one of those chapters. The more you can template things, the more each task can get done quicker.
That’s the key. Focus on getting the task done and then go back and see how it fits into the project and how it is building upon that overall job getting done.
The 12 Step Book Program
Let me give you the big, broad brush of what it’s like writing a book. This is the way I did it and it was a 12 step program.
- I recorded a chapter. I literally talked it in just like a podcast.
- Next, I had it transcribed and then I read it and I updated it. I said, “Oh, this section needs to move here.” Or, “I didn’t say this.” I was able to take my thoughts out of my head, put them on paper, and rearrange things.
- Step three, was complete a section. This particular book has three sections. My first book had five.
- Next, I popped it into a word document. Just to make sure that what I was saying made sense. I put it in front of a friend and they reviewed it. Then I went back and tweaked it a little more.
- Next, I sent a chapter at a time to an editor.
- Once the editor finished a chapter, I went to step six and I sent that chapter to the proofreader and kept going back five and six, five and six, five and six.
- Next, when they finished a section, I took it and I imported it into my template for my book so I could actually see how it would look and what I needed to add. For example, in my first book I had bacon-isms. In this one I had toilet paper math questions and then I had to write those.
- Step eight happened once I got the whole book layout complete. I read it start to finish just to make sure it made sense.
- Then I would go back and change or update some of the chapters that didn’t necessarily flow as well as I thought they did when I originally wrote them.
- Step ten was to compile the entire book and then send it back to the proofreader and the editor for another review. While all that was going on, I also sent it to a handful of reviewers who could now read the book from start to finish. They helped me find a handful of formatting or proofing mistakes that may have been overlooked.
- Next, I took all the final proofing corrections. I spent time going through and making sure all the dashes and commas, and periods, and capitalization, or any other typos were corrected to the best of my ability.
- Finally, I get to publish the book. I uploaded and proofed the final files on Amazon for proper printing and formatting.
Now it’s in the hand of the world and I can guarantee you, the world will come back and let me know, “Hey, you’re missing a period. This comma needs to go here.” They will help me find any last mistakes and there’s different opinions on what’s right and what’s wrong. But I can pick and choose to redo the book anytime because it’s print on demand. I can upload a new version of it without interrupting the ability for the book to sell and for me to sell it.
That, my friends, is how to let procrastination and perfectionism not get in the way of getting her done. Let me leave you with this final thought. Good is the enemy of great, perfection is the enemy of done, done is the enemy of procrastination – so get her done.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Comment below and share your thoughts, ideas, or questions about procrastination vs. perfectionism. Are these tips making your business better? What worked and what did not live up to your expectations? Do you have any ideas or advice you could share?