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Mr_Asa
Mr_Asa UltraDork
3/11/21 12:20 a.m.

Virtually everything I work on, except things that I have to have working on a day-to-day basis is stalled.  Its stalled due to me waiting on parts, waiting on space, waiting to borrow a sand blaster, waiting on something.  But mostly they're stalled because I can't let perfection go. 

Part of it is probably me, ADHD with a slight splash in the ASD pool means I obsess over details.  I picture it in my head, I get it started, I start making good progress, aaaaand then I stall because I need something outside of my world (like the items mentioned above) in order to take the next step.  Part of it is probably growing up with my father, a furniture restoration expert and museum conservator, watching him work meticulously on some project for months on end in order to repair it and bring it back to a level of his abilities instilled a strong recognition of how good work can be when you do it right.

 

But I'm drowning because of this.  I have three boats, two of them aren't sea worthy.  I have a dozen (or more, not sure since I sold some at the last swap meet) outboards and three or four of them run reliably with an equal number being disassembled completely and waiting on bodywork and paint.  I don't even want to go into what my Mustang needs.

 

In that respect, this place has been pretty damn good to me about pushing past perfection.  The casting thread and my 300 LSx head thread are aspects of that, but I still find myself reverting to perfection and stalling out.

So, how do you guys get past it?

Appleseed
Appleseed MegaDork
3/11/21 12:54 a.m.

I remember that perfect is the enemy of good enough.  

 

I'm an artist.  I ruined more than a few pieces by dicking around trying to perfect was was really good from the start. 

I have wheels for the FR-S. They are black. The 86 is black. We all know that much black looks like ass. Perfect would be new 17x8 gold Enkei RPF1s at $1,000. Good enough is used black Konig 17x7 at $400. I can buy a lot of gold Rustoleum/Plasti-Dip for $600 difference.  

Honsch
Honsch Reader
3/11/21 3:18 a.m.

I get past it by racing a VW.

When it breaks I hit it with a rock until it works again then go back out on track.

Starting with something that's not great is a good way to not invest too much perfection on it.

Torkel
Torkel Reader
3/11/21 5:29 a.m.

On the waiting part: I always make sure to think in minimum (!) a month down the line of the project and order what I need in advance. It's not always possible, but most times it is. It keeps the projects rolling and it is a great motivator to have parts waiting on you next to the car. 

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth Mod Squad
3/11/21 6:20 a.m.

From your initial description you have actually have two issues. 

1. You want your projects to be perfect. 

2. You have a LOT of projects. 

Either one of those things is fine, both of them together is stressful. If you did what your dad did and spent months and months and months focusing on perfection with one boat motor, you could get there. Or you could knock out 10 runners. But there isn't enough spare time in the world to knock out 10 perfect motors. You need to pick your battles. 

Ian F (Forum Supporter)
Ian F (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
3/11/21 6:27 a.m.

I don't know...  I generally try to follow the "don't start a new project until the current one is finished" rule, although I'm not very good at it.  Right now, I have bicycle projects, too many guitar projects, and all of my 8 vehicles need at least something done to them.  Then I have a house in need of a complete renovation. One of the guitar projects I am strongly considering farming out to a professional, but the rest I'm not entirely sure.

Make a list of everything you need to get done? Try not to go into shock when looking at that list? Check off the low-hanging fruit (easy/quick ones)? 

SkinnyG (Forum Supporter)
SkinnyG (Forum Supporter) UberDork
3/11/21 6:28 a.m.

A friend once told me "your death trap is still better than most people's awesome."

That's helped me let go and say "berkeley it, it will work."

I have never been able to produce what my mind can envision.  I have to let it go.

stafford1500
stafford1500 GRM+ Memberand Dork
3/11/21 6:29 a.m.

In reply to mazdeuce - Seth :

What Maxdeuce said...

Another way to approach it is: set yourself one reasonable goal and leave the rest until that goal is complete. Dont think of the goals as a complete assembly, but rather a small part of the project. Example, your disassembled outboards, if they are all the same models, get common parts together and clean/paint/poilsh those parts to be set aside for reassembly.

It will not reduced the number of projects, but it will allow you to focus on one aspect and prepare it for future use.

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth Mod Squad
3/11/21 6:44 a.m.

Kind of related philosophical question: Do you want a restored outboard, or do you want to restore an outboard? Those are two different things. 

Beer Baron
Beer Baron MegaDork
3/11/21 7:07 a.m.

I'm a "working on something is a means to the ends of using it," kind of person. So this isn't really an issue for me. But I can share my thought processes that might click for you.

I keep fewer projects and have sort of clear, actionable goals that don't require it to be perfect. I don't make the goal, "getting my car/boat set up perfect." I make my goal, "Get my car/boat working well and sorted to get it on the track/water."

If you are obsessed with tinkering and tweaking... I then adopt the scientific method philosophy. "Make one change. Test. Evaluate." This will let you continue to tinker, improve, and perfect, but it limits how many changes you make at any one time. One you get it working, you're only making one adjustment before you bring it back out and use it again.

You could treat your multiple projects like multiple experiments. Keep one project as the "control". Keep another project as the neverending pursuit of perfection. Then make all the other projects test cases to each evaluate a different variable. If you do this, you have one that always works. One that you can obsess over. A bunch that are working most of the time and never far from working.

1988RedT2
1988RedT2 MegaDork
3/11/21 7:40 a.m.

You are not alone.  I grew up in a time and place where making mistakes was strongly discouraged.  As an older adult, I have taken on way too many hobbies.  With projects, I tend to wait until I have all the parts and knowledge required to get through the job.  Getting started is often a battle.  I maintain a family fleet of no less than seven automobiles, a boat, two lawn tractors, and countless little things with gasoline engines on them.  After I finish rebuilding the rotary in the RX-7, I need to get back to the '66 Nova for my wife.  In the meantime, things will come up that need attention NOW. 

If you'll excuse me, I need to get off the computer and out to the garage.  laugh

NOHOME
NOHOME MegaDork
3/11/21 7:43 a.m.

Two kinds of perfectionist. One that is "driven" and one that is "driving". To thine own self be true.

Those that are driven don't get the full benefit of the results because it will never be good enough. 

Those that are driving will do something appreciate the results and take away knowledge and skills that will result in a better result next time.

 

Finish something to your satisfaction. Even if it is just a sub-task of a larger project. Getting the task done against odds is what makes us feel good about ourselves and the reason we do this E36 M3. Rinse and repeat.

I myself am not a multiple project person, nor am I a collector.  I have no deed or desire to own more cars or stuff, I just want a series of challenges to  overcome.

Projects are fun to start and we get the sense of satisfaction from the low hanging fruit they offer at the start, but then bog down when the challenges start and it is way to easy to get the sense of satisfaction from starting another project. At that point the current project gets stuffed in the garden under a tarp  with a distant promise to get back to it whenever the other projects are done. For some people, this is good enough to feed the self satisfaction  need, so no worries until you run out of space or the HOA complains.

 

Collecting stuff is fine in itself since obtaining the objet is the end result. It is how people  die with car hordes and there is nothing bad about it since it scratches the self satisfaction itch. Its why they never sell.

 

 

j_tso
j_tso GRM+ Memberand Reader
3/11/21 8:07 a.m.

Posting here is a good start.  Sometimes you need a 2nd opinion from someone who will say, " It's fine. Now do something with it."

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
3/11/21 8:08 a.m.

I move past it with deadlines. No deadline? I'll spend hours and hours and hours on something, mostly overthinking it in the pursuit of perfection. But if there's a date a car needs to be on the road or track, that's great motivation to skip perfection and focus on good enough instead.

DjGreggieP
DjGreggieP HalfDork
3/11/21 8:36 a.m.

I have a chalkboard in my shop (chalk doesn't freeze) and I will write out what I want to accomplish as a list.

Whatever fits is the goal for the week.

I will then tackle the list, crossing out things I accomplish a I go. Some weeks everything gets done plus more, other weeks a task takes longer than I thought it would and I get less done but I still get something accomplished and at the end of the week I evaluate the list and go from there. I try and make the list both small and large tasks so it 'should' take me the week to complete.

I still want 'perfect' and I suffer from similar issues (waiting on parts) but for the most part it feels like I am making progress even when the main written list seems to grow.

Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/11/21 8:59 a.m.

How to let go of perfect?

Stick with me, kid. 

Also, do a parking lot challenge build. Not just participate - own and plan one. 

Driven5
Driven5 UltraDork
3/11/21 9:06 a.m.

Work in manufacturing for a while. You'll see just how imperfect perfectly good things can be, and just how unreasonable it is to demand perfection. The easiest way to increase your level of  'perfection' is to make the requirements more imperfect.

maschinenbau (I live here)
maschinenbau (I live here) GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
3/11/21 9:19 a.m.

Take a break from perfect and do something crazy and simple and hacked up. Thrashing on Roll-Ovalon at the Challenge last year without a care in the world was just what I needed after working on my hot rod and Datsaniti for years on end. Scrapping it was cathartic. Felt good to exercise that weirdness in my system.

Take one of your boat projects and make it a rat rod boat. Just the bare essentials, get it running, perhaps put 3 or 4 of those spare outboards on the crappiest boat and see what happens. 

iansane
iansane Reader
3/11/21 9:20 a.m.

I just have low self esteem. So I assume I'll never be able to make my project as good as the next guy. Better for me to enjoy the car than chase that perfectly fab'd part.

slefain
slefain PowerDork
3/11/21 9:38 a.m.

Will it kill me or someone else? If no, then send it.

My idea of "perfect" with a car project is if it runs/drives well enough for me to leave the tools at home.

I broke myself of chasing perfection by flipping used cars back in a previous life when I wasn't such a nice person. Time is money and "good enough" sells just as well as "perfect" with used beater cars.

captdownshift (Forum Supporter)
captdownshift (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
3/11/21 9:52 a.m.

There's a few ways

 

1) think of the time that you spend on a project is billable hours. Even if you're only valuing your time at $10 an hour, if one of the boats is going to take 250 hours, would you pay $2500 in labor to get going? 

 

2) is you mentioned waiting on space and waiting on parts. Of the boats and motors if they were all complete up to what you envision, which boat would you choose to take out first and with which motor on it? 

Any other boats or motors that can't be used as parts towards that final end product that you envision in that first trip out, get rid of. They're distraction that takes up space and resources whether it be time or funds for parts. I know that they would be worth more completed, but let them become somebody else's dream. Once you free yourself from that and can focus on a single project you'll be more focused make more headway and feel that you're not spinning your tires. You also won't be able to become distracted by other things that need doing. All your project efforts will become focused upon the ultimate end game. Focus on a single project at a time with an action item list for it, or you become doomed to never complete any projects. This will help with the seeking of perfection. As you won't be able to distract yourself with something else to work on, if you attempt something and it's not perfection but it's good enough you will realize it even with a tinge of regret, and move forward to the next thing on the action item list. 

Brett_Murphy (Ex-Patrón)
Brett_Murphy (Ex-Patrón) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/11/21 9:59 a.m.

I'm not perfect, so how can my projects wind up that way?

As others have stated, having clearly defined goals every step of the way is important, and usually getting something functional is a big first step for me. After that, safe and reliable are the next phases. The third step is everything else. 

Mr_Asa
Mr_Asa UltraDork
3/11/21 11:34 a.m.
DjGreggieP said:

I have a chalkboard in my shop (chalk doesn't freeze) and I will write out what I want to accomplish as a list.

Whatever fits is the goal for the week.

I will then tackle the list, crossing out things I accomplish a I go. Some weeks everything gets done plus more, other weeks a task takes longer than I thought it would and I get less done but I still get something accomplished and at the end of the week I evaluate the list and go from there. I try and make the list both small and large tasks so it 'should' take me the week to complete.

I still want 'perfect' and I suffer from similar issues (waiting on parts) but for the most part it feels like I am making progress even when the main written list seems to grow.

This actually might be the best advice in here for me.  I do great with lists, I just need to figure out a system and get it running.  Maybe a sheet of lexan and a grease pencil connected to the back of the garage door.

Mr_Asa
Mr_Asa UltraDork
3/11/21 11:36 a.m.
Robbie (Forum Supporter) said:

How to let go of perfect?

Stick with me, kid. 

Also, do a parking lot challenge build. Not just participate - own and plan one. 

Actually, you and whoever did the 30 minutes in the garage a day thread are a big help.

thatsnowinnebago (Forum Supporter)
thatsnowinnebago (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
3/11/21 12:26 p.m.
Mr_Asa said:
Robbie (Forum Supporter) said:

How to let go of perfect?

Stick with me, kid. 

Also, do a parking lot challenge build. Not just participate - own and plan one. 

Actually, you and whoever did the 30 minutes in the garage a day thread are a big help.

The "30 mins in the garage a day" thing really helps me. I'm not used to having a garage so I still struggle with the concept that I don't need to start/finish a project all in the same day. Do I only have 15 mins, instead of a full 30? Go out in the garage and do a 15 min project. Something always needs doing, and progress snowballs. 

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