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Interesting concept. Once I worked with a really talented/accomplished designer and he said something that's stuck, with me while we were working at something that felt like it could go on interminably: "What would I do if I had to finish this today?"

Yep, I think that's a great way to get over the fear of shipping imperfect stuff.

Procrastination and perfectionism are very tied together for me- it's largely a fear of failure. To be more precise, it's a structural, habitual, systemic underestimation of how it's better to fail a little bit every day than to "fail by default" (as JK Rowling beautifully put it) because you never try at all.

I see a lot of parallels between this and smoking, or any other unhealthy, damaging habit- an inability to grok, at a very visceral level, how small things add up to big ones.

The only way to learn is to stick to it, and anything that helps me/you stick to it is worth trying, I think.

This. I've recently had some successes with an app called "Way of Life" on the iPhone (or its Android equivalent, Hab.it). It's half way between the bucket filling an fire lighting methods, but it's so quick and easy to use, I've actually managed to use it for 6 weeks now. I realise that doesn't sound like a lot, but this is coming from someone who can write a diary for 3 days max and to-do lists last a week or so.

The idea is that you put in a behaviour and tell the app whether it is bad or good, and then every evening you spend 10 seconds telling the app whether you did it or not. Very soon you have a red or green patchwork of your life's choices to stare at on a daily basis.

The bad: I've been pretty honest so my results aren't great (about 60:40 green to red).

The good: I've had many occasions where I'm at the tipping point of doing or not doing something and thinking about getting that green square for the day has nudged me to do the right thing. Which I figure means it's worth it.

Since buying the app, I've lost a few kilos, been to the gym twice as often, reduced my computer games usage, almost stopped biting my nails, and cut out 90% of the fizzy drinks in my diet. Stopping eating chocolate seems to be a persistent problem though...

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