The Imperfectionist

Oliver Burkeman recently started a mailing list, The Imperfectionist, which takes up where his Guardian column left off: “a twice-monthly email on productivity, mortality, the power of limits, and building a meaningful life in an age of bewilderment”.

In the first issue he asks, “What if you’re already on top of things?”

“Few things feel more basic to my experience of adulthood than this vague sense that I’m falling behind, and need to claw my way back up to some minimum standard of output.”

I’ve often felt that way throughout my adult life, driven to do more and more, a constant sense of urgency. I’ve had to learn to be more forgiving, and more thoughtful. Starting a family was a turning point. You can’t measure your days by how many hours you worked. You have to think about what your values are, set your priorities accordingly, and see how well you can follow them. Work is a priority, but so is taking my two year old for a walk and letting him pick up every leaf and stick that catches his eye.