My coffee cup was full, Spotify’s Tropical House playlist was on point, I had settled into my chair, and was fully committed to working on a presentation for the next few hours. Everything was perfect for productivity. The optimism was palpable as I dove into my work. The flow state was undeniable… until two minutes in when I was derailed. A website I needed was down for maintenance. I spent the next ten minutes trying to do what I could for the presentation without the website, but the frustration was overwhelming.
I closed the laptop, took my coffee cup over to the couch, and turned on Netflix. My to-do list included much more than just the presentation, but I couldn’t get back in the mood to do work. The next three hours were a blur and it wasn’t until I had to be somewhere that I finally got up.
In Jon Acuff’s book Finish, he talks about this very phenomenon. He refers to it as “the day after perfect.” It marks the day after you mess up a goal or plan. The day after perfect is the day after you ruin your diet, skip the gym, or fall short in someway. It is the day that you give up your goal or the day where you decide to pick up where you left off.
Upon finding out the website was down, I quit my entire morning. I could have worked without the use of the website or worked my way down my list of things to do. Instead, I did nothing. This is something I’ve always struggled with, but never recognized until reading Acuff’s book.
Imperfect is to be expected and it is what we do once we find ourselves there that matters. There are moments after perfect. What do you do in the minutes, hours, and also day after your expectations fall short or your actions fall short? Don’t feel guilty, don’t beat yourself up. Refocus, re-engage, and move forward.
What do you do after perfect?